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The Khasis by P. R. T. Gurdon

Part 4 out of 5

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unsafe to base any conclusion on the solitary folk-tale about the
_Iew Ksih_ table-stone; but the tale certainly furnishes food for
reflection. The Khasis borrowed their religious customs largely
from the Synteng inhabitants of Jaintia, and it is possible that
they may have obtained the custom of erecting the table-stones from
the Syntengs also, and that the latter were originally used by both
of them for sacrificing human victims. Sometimes, immediately on
either side of the _mawkni_, or large central stone, there are two
much smaller stones called _mawksing_, or the stone of the drum,
and _mawkait_, the stone of the plantain; the drum being used in all
religious ceremonies by the Khasis, and the plantain relating to their
custom of feeding young children on plantains. The _mawnan_ must be
described separately from the _mawbynna_, because they differ from
them in an important particular, i.e. that the former may be erected
to commemorate the father, while the latter are set up to perpetuate
the memory of the ancestors on the female side of the family. _Mawnam_
consist of three upright stones and one flat table-stone in front. The
large central stone is called _u maw thawlang_, or the stone of the
father, and the upright stones on either side are meant to represent
the father's brothers or nephews. The flat table-stone is _ka Iawbei_,
i.e. the grandmother of the father, not the first grandmother of the
clan, as in the case of the _mawbynna_.

(_c_) The _maw umkoi_ have already been described. They use erected
to mark the sites of purificatory tanks, which have been dug so that
the remains of deceased persons may be cleansed from the impurities
attending an unnatural death, and to counteract the adverse influence
upon the clan of _Ka Tyrut_, or the goddess of death. These stones
are sometimes called _mawtyrut_.

(_d_) _Maw-shongthait_, or stones upon which weary travellers sit, are
to be found alongside all the principal lines of communication in the
district. It may serve as an example of these stones to describe the
very interesting collection of stones at Nartiang _hat_, or market. A
reference is invited to the plate which gives a representation of some
of the Nartiang stones. The great height of the upright stone will at
once be seen; it is 27 ft. in height and 2 1/2 ft. thick. This stone is
the largest erect stone in the Khasi and Jaintia Hills at the present
day, and is a very fine specimen. The upright stones and the flat
table-stones at Nartiang are called "_ki maw jong Siem_." There is
no separate designation for each of them. These stones are popularly
supposed to have been erected long ago by two men, U Lah Laskor and U
Mar Phalyngki, to commemorate the establishment of Nartiang market,
which is called Iew Mawlong. "Laskor" is the Synteng equivalent of
the Khasi _lyngskor_, or prime minister. "Mar" is a Synteng word
meaning a giant, the idea amongst the people being that in the olden
days there were giants in the land who performed marvellous feats of
strength, e.g. the erection of the megalithic remains at Nartiang
and elsewhere. A puja is performed upon a great flat stone by the
_doloi_ and his officers in honour of the founders of the market,
but no animals are sacrificed, rice and _rynsi_ (balls of rice) only
being offered. In the days of the Jaintia kings only the Raja could
sit upon the great flat stone; hence the name _maw jong Siem_ (or
Siem's stone). The great upright stone is said to have been brought
by U Lah Laskor and a great number of people from Suriang, a place
near Nartiang. With reference to the Nartiang stones I would refer
to my theory, formulated above, that they were originally connected
with human sacrifices. It may be mentioned that at Nartiang there is
a bridge constructed out of a single stone, which is also said to have
been set in position by U Lah Laskor. Near Suhtnga there is a group of
stones, said to have been originally thirty in number, together with
_maw shongthait_, or stones to seat the weary, which were erected
to the memory of a woman, Ka Kampatwat, who in generations past
is alleged to have had no less than _thirty_ husbands. The lady is
not supposed to have been polyandrous, nor nine-lived, but to have
divorced one husband after another. As she probably established a
record for divorce, her descendants afterwards commemorated her in
the manner described. There is another very large atone at Nongkeeh,
which unfortunately fell to the ground in the great earthquake shock
of 1897. This stone must have stood over 20 ft. above the ground. It
is called _u mawkni Siem_, the stone of the Siem's maternal uncle,
and it used to form the central stone, or _mawkni_, of a line of
stones. These stones belong to the clan of the _basans_ of Nongkseh,
which furnishes the _sohblei_, or head sacrificer, of the Siems of
Khyrim. The stones at Mawsmai; which in ancient days used to be the
headquarters of a Siem, are some of the best carved in the hills. At
Mawrongjong, in the Jaintia sub-division, is a stone upon which a
figure, evidently of a Hindu god, has been carved, without doubt
after the erection of the stone. Here we have a striking parallel
case to the painted and carved menhir near Tregastel in Brittany,
upon which has been carved the representation of a crucifix. There are
also some carved stones near Nartiang (said to represent two women)
called _mawthawdur briew_.

The Khasis say that these great stones were brought sometimes from
considerable distances. After being hewn, the stones were laid on a
large, wooden trolley and dragged across country by means of ropes of
cane, of which plenty can be bad from the War country on the southern
side of the district, and then placed in position by means of ropes and
levers. It seems little short of marvellous that these stones, which
sometimes weighed many tons, were placed in position by such primitive
means, especially when we consider the great trouble there was to
re-erect one of the fallen stones at Stonehenge lately. Nowadays only
comparatively small stones are erected, which are generally hewn and
erected on the spot, so that there is no necessity for any conveyance.

In conclusion, it may be remarked that the subject of the Khasi
monoliths is in reality a large one, on which a great deal could
be written, but owing to considerations of space it has been found
necessary to compress the account within its present limits.

Festivities, Domestic and Tribal.

Dancing forms the principal part of all the Khasi festivities, and
is an important adjunct of some of their religious ceremonies. One
of the greatest festivals in the Khasi Hills is the Nongkrem dance;
it may be said to be as important an event to the Khasis as the _Beh
dieng-khlam_ festivities are to the Syntengs.

The Nongkrem dance is really part of what is known as the _pom-blang_,
or goat-killing ceremony, performed by the Siem of Khyrim (or
Nongkrem)) with the aid of his _soh-blei_ (high priest) and the various
_lyngdohs_ (or priests) to Ka Blei Synshar (the ruling goddess),
that the crops may prosper and that there may be a successful era in
store for the people of the State. The goddess on this occasion may be
regarded as a Khasi Demeter, although no mysteries form part of her
services as at the Grecian Eleusis. The Nongkrem ceremony and dance
(now held at Smit) take place in the late spring, generally in the
month of May. A lucky day having been fixed; the Siem sends a ring of
cane (_kyrwoh_) by way of a summons to the people of every village in
the State, at the same time informing them of the date of the puja and
requesting them to attend with their offerings, consisting of goats
and different articles of food. In the meantime various pujas have
been taking place in the house of _Ka Siem Sad_, the Siem priestess,
which it would be tedious to describe in detail. The more interesting
points only will be mentioned. A fortnight before the puja and dance
at Smit the _soh-blei_, or high priest, pours out libations of liquor
in the _kyram-blang_, or place where the sacrificial goats are kept,
and in front of the great post (of _dieng sning_, or Khasi oak),
in the house of the Siem priestess. Dancing then takes place in
front of the post. Later on the Siem, with the high priest and
other attendant priests, walks with extremely slow gait to a small
hill where a stone altar has been prepared, and sacrifices a cock
in honour of _u'lei Shillong_, or the god of the Shillong Peak. A
silver dish with powdered rice, liquor in a gourd, (_ka'iad um_),
betel-nut, and some leaves of the Khasi oak (_dieng sning_), are also
necessary adjuncts of the puja. A goat is then sacrificed, and the
sacrifice is followed by a dance of twenty two men armed with swords
and shields and chowries (fly-flaps). Having danced before the altar,
the party returns to the house of the Siem priestess and executes
another dance in the great courtyard. The Siem and certain selected
persons dance in front of the _rishot blei_, or holy post of Khasi oak
inside the house of the Siam priestess, the dancers being entertained
with dried fish and ginger. Then follows the great dance of girls and
men in front of her house. The girls dance in the centre, taking such
tiny steps, that the lifting of their feet from the ground is hardly
perceptible, the arms held down to the sides and the eyes demurely
downcast. It is on this occasion that they wear the peculiar silver
(and sometimes gold) crowns illustrated in the plate. The hair is
worn tied in a knot behind the head, but with a long tail hanging
down the back. Rich silk cloths are worn by the girls, who present
the appearance of being, if anything, over-clothed, or, as Yule
aptly puts it, of "perfect parallelograms." They wear a profusion
of gold and coral bead necklaces, silver and gold chains, bracelets,
ear-rings of gold, and any other jewellery they can lay hands on. Not
only is the whole of the family jewellery, requisitioned by the fair
_debutante_ (it is only the unmarried who dance), but she borrows
from her friends. The men dance round the outside of the circle,
waving fly-flaps, and prancing (often nowadays, wearing huge boots)
with ungainly strides. The music necessary for the dance consists of
_tangmuri_ (pipes), drums, and cymbals. This is _ka shad kynthei_,
or the dance of the women. Then there _is ka shad mastieh_, or the
dance of the men, who are gaily dressed, wearing plumes of black and
white cock's feathers (_u thuiyah_) and hold swords and shields. After
gyrating for some time, two men at a time rapidly approach one another
and clash their swords together in mock combat. They then retire,
and, after again revolving for a period, repeat the process; then
other couples follow and take their place. This goes on, until the
dancers get tired or are told to stop.

The above description, may be taken as applicable to all the Khasi
dances. Dancing forms part of the ceremony of placing the ashes in the
sepulchre of the clan. Dancing also forms a part of certain ceremonies
performed at market for the prosperity of the State and for the good
of trade.

When I was at Mawsynram, at the time of the appointment of a Siem,
I witnessed a very pretty dance called _ka shad lymmoh_, performed
by men who held the leafy branches of trees in their hands. This
is most effective. Then followed a dance of some forty young girls,
very well dressed, covered with the usual gold and coral beads and
silver chains, and wearing the silver crown, or _pansngiat_. The young
women danced with great spirit, and with an absence of all shyness,
but still with the greatest decorum. Many of the women, spectators
as well as dancers, were observed to be without the usual _tap moh
khlih_, or head-cloth, the absence of which is always a sign amongst
the Khasi women of merry-making. There were women from the War country,
wearing their picturesque dress amongst whom was the wife of the Siem
of Bohwal with her little daughter. The dance was a pretty sight,
and I have seldom seen such evidence of unaffected happiness as was
exhibited by the people on this occasion. Dancing may be described
as one of the characteristic features of Khasi life.

The Synteng _Beh-diang-khlam_ festival takes place annually at Jowai
and elsewhere in the Jaintia Hills in the deep water moon month (_u
Jyllieu_, or June). _Khlam_ is the Khasi word for plague or pestilence
and _beh-dieng_ signifies to drive away with sticks. The festival
may be described as follows:--The males rise betimes on the day fixed
and beat the roof with sticks, calling upon the plague-demon to leave
the house. Having done this, later on in the day they go down to the
stream where the goddess "Aitan" dwells. Then poles of great length,
which have been newly cut, are held across the stream. The people
jump on the poles and try to break them; when they succeed in doing
so, a great shout is given. After all these poles have been broken,
a very large pole is fixed across the stream. The people then divide
themselves into two parties, and contend for the possession of the
tree. The contest, however, is a good-humoured one, and although many
buffets are given and received, these are not regarded seriously,
and there are seldom any fights. Col. Bivar says the contending
villagers in their excitement, sometimes relapse into a state of almost
complete nudity. The party which succeeds in obtaining possession of
the post is supposed to gain health and prosperity during the coming
year. Col. Bivar remarks that the origin of this so-called ceremony is
said to be that the god of thunder, "_u'lei pyrthat_," and Ka Aitan,
the goddess of the stream, enjoined its performance. Many innovations,
however, have crept in. People disguise themselves as giants and
wild beasts, they also parade images of serpents, elephants, tigers,
peacocks, &c. Dancing is carried on with enthusiasm by the males,
the girls, clad in their best attire, remaining on-lookers. Before
the meeting breaks up the males play a sort of game of hockey with
wooden balls.


The word _genna_ is one in common use amongst the Naga tribes. It seems
to be a matter of doubt whether the word belongs to any of the numerous
languages or dialects spoken by these tribes; but for our purposes
it may be taken to mean taboo. The Khasi word _sang_, which implies
an interdiction either religious or social from doing any particular
thing, might have been employed; but as the word _genna_ is so commonly
used when speaking of taboos amongst the hill tribes of this province,
I have thought fit to employ it here. The word _genna_, or taboo,
may be held to include the Khasi _sang_. Taboos amongst the Khasis,
Wars and Lynngams may be divided into two sections; (_a_) general, and
(_b_) special. Instances of general taboo have not been found amongst
the Khasis, but the following taboo called _Ka sang kla_ amongst the
War villages of Sohbar and Nongjri is peculiar, and therefore worthy
of description. Its chief peculiarity is that during the time the
_sang kla_ continues, the inhabitants of these two villages are not
allowed to associate with foreigners. This _genna_ takes place twice
a year, in the months of June and November, and lasts for a month each
time. During the _genna_ foreigners are not allowed to stay the night
in these two villages, and the villagers must not sleep the night
outside their villages. If they do not return home for the night,
they are subjected to a fine. There is a prohibition against eating,
smoking, or chewing betel-nut with foreigners during the period. The
above is the only instance of general taboo that I have been able to
find amongst the Wars, but in the Lynngam villages there is a taboo on
all outsiders at the time of the village pujas. Such a taboo amongst
the Lynngams is not to be wondered at, as they have probably imbibed
the notion from their Garo mothers, intermarriages between Lynngams
and Garos being common. The Garos, like other Thibeto-Burmans, have
numerous taboos. There are numerous instances of special taboos
among the Khasis. _Kaba shong sang_, or marrying within the _kur_
or clan, is the most important taboo of all, and is regarded as the
most serious offence a Khasi can commit. It admits of no expiation,
and the bones and ashes of the offender cannot be placed in the
family tomb. There are special taboos for certain clans, of which
the following are some examples. The clan Nongtathiang cannot eat
the lemon, the Khar-umnuid clan must abstain from pork, the Cherra
Siem family cannot eat dried fish, and the Siem family of Mylliem
taboo the pumpkin. Possibly these taboos may be relics of totemism
amongst these communities. The following are some of the other taboos,
although some of them are but lightly regarded now-a-days.

(i.) To build a house with stone walls on all four sides.

(ii.) To use nails in building a house.

(iii.) To use more than one kind of timber in building the hearth.

(iv.) To build a house with resinous timber. Only the Siem family
can use such timber.

(v.) To cut trees from a sacred forest.

(vi.) To take or give anything with the left hand.

(vii.) To step over any one's body.

(viii.) To kill any animal or bird without first throwing rice over
its body. . .

(ix.) To drink the milk of a cow or goat.

(x.) To talk with any one, except with one of a man's or woman's
fellow-workers, when the thrashing of paddy is going on.

There are the following special taboos for pregnant women.

(_a_) To Accompany a funeral procession.

(_b_) To finish any sewing she may have commenced before she became
_enceinte_. There is a similar prohibition regarding the finishing
of the plaiting of wicker baskets.

(_c_) It is _sang_ for the husband of a pregnant woman to thatch the
ridge of the house at such a time, or to fix a handle to an axe or
a _dao_.


Folk-Tales, Traditions and Superstitions


The Khasis possess a considerable amount of folk-lore. The tales which
will be found reproduced in the original Khasi have been obtained from
a collection which was in the possession of the Rev. Dr. Roberts,
of Cherrapunji, who very kindly placed it at my disposal. The
translations are by U Nissor Singh, Sub-Inspector of Schools, and
the author of a Khasi English Dictionary as well as certain other
educational works in that language. Dr. Roberts's collections would
fill a book; so I have selected only a few of what I consider typical
tales. At the instance of Sir Charles Lyall, I have given the Khasi
and English side by side. The stories will speak for themselves,
but I add a few explanatory notes. The water-fall of Ka Likai is
a magnificent cascade in the rainy season; it can best be viewed
from the heights of Laitkynsew. The water-fall is situated close
to the village of Nongriat, which is approached by a succession of
stone steps from the village of Tyrna, just below the Charrapunji
Laitkynsew bridle-path. "Dingiei," which is mentioned in the second
tale, is the high hill to be seen on the right-hand side of the
Shillong-Cherrapunji road soon after leaving Shillong. The highest
point of the range is over 6,000 ft. The third tale contains the
well-known story of Ka Pah Syntiew, the fabled ancestress of the
Khyrim and Mylliem Siem families. The cave where Ka Pah Syntiew is
said to have made her abode is still to be seen in the neighbourhood
of Nongkrem. The story of the origin of the Siems of Suhtnga, who
afterwards became the Rajas of Jaintiapur, is a well-known tale in the
Jaintia Hills. A description of the wonderful mass of granite known
by the name of the Kyllang Rock will be found in the section of the
monograph which deals with geographical distribution. I have also
added a photograph of the rock. The Syntengs have a story that when
the strong west wind blows in the spring this is due to the advent
of _U Kyllang_, who comes to visit his wife, the river _Umngot_,
at that season: amongst the Khasis hills are all of them masculine,
but to rivers is usually attributed the feminine gender. U Symper is
another isolated rocky eminence rising from the Maharam plain close to
the village of K'mawan. The best view of the hill is obtainable from
Laitmawsiang on the path to Mawsynram. The village of Mawsmai every
traveller from Therria to Cherrapunji knows. It is chiefly remarkable
for a fairly large limestone cave, and its fine memorial stones. The
Khasi theory to explain how the moon got its spots is, I believe,
original, but is no more extraordinary than our own nursery tale about
the "man in the moon." The _Sohpet Byneng_ hill is the first hill of
any size that the traveller sees on the Gauhati road when journeying
to Shillong. It is close to Umsning Dak Bungalow. There are caves
in the hill which are tenanted by bears. Strange to say, according
to Khasi ideas, this is one of the highest points in the hills; in
reality _Sophet Byneng_ is some 2,000 ft. lower than the Shillong
Peak. As mentioned elsewhere, the Khasis are very fond of dogs; so
I have given their version of how the dog came to live with man. The
well-known _thlen_ superstition will be found fully described under
the heading of "Human sacrifices." I have, however, thought the tale of
sufficient interest to reproduce at length here. The story of the river
Rupatylli is a pretty tale, and is just such a one as would appeal to
the imagination of mountaineers like the Khasis. The Kopili story is
important, in that it indicates the origin of human sacrifices in the
Jaintia Hills; it also throws, perhaps, some light on the question of
the use to which the flat table memorial stones were put in years gone
by. The superstition about the crossing of the Kopili can be vouched
for by many, who have taken the journey from the Jaintia Hills to North
Cachar by the Kopili route. Mawpunkyrtiang is a small village close to
Cherrapunji. The weird tale about the Siem of Malyniang is the pride
of the Maskut people, for in olden days their King, i.e. the Siem of
Malyniang, is supposed to have been a very powerful monarch amongst
the Khasis. The story of Manick Raitong is interesting, in that it
explains the origin of the use of the _sharati_, a bamboo flute of
special make which is played only at funerals. The pool of water,
which was formed after U Manick and the erring queen were burnt, may
be connected with the _Umkoi_, or tank, which is dug to cleanse the
souls of those who have died violent deaths. The idea of the bamboo,
which bore leaves that grew upside-down, springing up from the buried
flute, is also to be found in the Synteng tale regarding U Loh Ryndi's
fishing rod. Owing to considerations of space, I have had to curtail
largely the folk-lore section. I have, however, kept the materials
by me, and if at any future time there is reason to believe that the
reproduction of more Khasi folk-lore is called for, I shall be glad
to try to arrange that some of the other folk-tales be printed.

The Water-Fall of Ka Likai.

The water-fall of Ka Likai is one of the most beautiful water-falls in
the Khasi Hills. Its stream flows from a certain river from the village
of Rangjirteh and passes by the village of Nongriat. The fall can be
seen distinctly from the village of Laitkynsew. What a beautiful fall
it is when viewed in the autumn. It is also a very high fall. There
was in olden days in the village of Rangjirteh a woman called Ka
Likai. She was a poor woman who had a husband. When she had given
birth to a child, the husband died. Whilst the child was yet a baby,
she experienced much trouble in taking care of it on account of her
poverty. After the child was able to walk, what a pleasure it was
to her to see it growing, and able to play with other children. Then
that woman married another man; but he did not love the little child,
and many a time he got angry because she could not take care of him
more, on account of that child.

One day when she went to carry iron ore, her husband took the child
and killed it. When he had cut up the body into pieces, he prepared
curry with it and placed the curry where the mother would come and eat
it. When he had finished doing so, he threw the head and the bones of
the child far away, but he forgot to throw away the fingers, which he
had placed in a basket where the betel-nut was kept. When the mother
returned from her journey, she inquired "Where is the child?" "She
has just gone somewhere, I don't know where," he said. She remained
silent awhile; then she said, "Is there any rice and curry?" He said
"Yes, it is ready," and went out at the same time. When she ate, she
found the curry very tasty, and she thought that he had got the flesh
of a young pig from some one who had performed a sacrifice. When she
had finished eating, she took up the betel-nut basket, but found the
fingers of her child there. She shrieked and threw herself down, and
then ran to the precipice and cast herself down it. All the villagers
wondered, but no one ventured to prevent her as she held a _da_ in her
hand. From that time the waterfall was called the "Fall of Ka Likai."

Ka Kshaid Ka Likai.

Ka kshaid-ka-Likai ka long kawei ka kshaid ha ri Khasi kaba itynnad
shibun eh. Ka wan tuid na kawei ka wah ha ka shnong Rangjirteh kaba
wan hap ha ka shnong Nongriat. Ia kane ka kshaid lah ban ioh-i bha na
ka shnong Laitkynsew. Katno ka long kaba i-tynnad lada khmih ia ka
ha ka por synrai. Ka long ruh kaba jrong shibun eh. La don kawei ka
briew ha ka shnong Rangjirteh hyndai kaba kyrteng ka Likai. Kane ka
briew ka long kaba duk bad ka la don u tnga, te ynda la kha iwei i
khun kynthei uta i tnga u la iap noh. Hamar ka por ha dang lung ita
I khun ka la shitom shibun ban sumar ha ka jinglong duk jong ka. Te
ynda i la nangiaid katno, ka la sngewbha ban ioh-i ia la i khun ba
i la shait, bad ba i la nang ba'n leh kai bad ki para khynnah. Te
kane ka briew ka la shongkurim bad uwei pat u briew; hynrei uta u'm
ieit ia ita i khun, bad katno ba u la jiw sngew bitar ba ka'm lah
ban khreh ba'n sumar ia u na ka bynta ita i khun.

Te ha kawei ka sngi ba ka leit kit nongnar, uta u tnga u la shim ia
ita i khun bad u la pyniap noh. Bad haba u la ot u la shet jintah
ia ka doh jong i, u la buh ruh ha ka jaka ba ka'n wan bam ka kmie;
bad ynda u la dep kumta baroh u la leit bred noh ia ka khlih bad ki
shyieng sha jngai, hynrei ia ki shimpriahti ba u la buh ha ka shang
kwai u'm kynmaw shuh ban leit bred. Haba la wan ka kmie na kata ka
jingleit ka la kylli, "hangno ka khun"? "Tip ei, u ong, shano ka leit
kai myntan." Ka shu sngap noh bad ka ong "La don ja don jintah ne em"
u ong, "la don," bad hamar kata ka por u leit kai noh. Te haba ka la
bam ja, ka sngew bang shibun, bad ka la tharai ba u ioh doh khun sniang
na kino-kino kiba knia, bad haba ka la lah bam ja ka la shim ka shang
kwai ba'n bam kwai, ka shem pynban da ki shimpriahti ita i khun bad
ka la lyniar la lympat ia lade kat ba lah, bad ka la mareh sha katei
ka riat bad ka la pynnoh ia lade. Kumta lyngngoh ki shnong-ki-thaw
baroh bad y'm lah ba'n khang mano-mano ruh, ka bat la ka wait ha ka
kti. Te naduh kata ka por ki khot "ka kshaid-noh-ka-Likai."

The Dingiei Hill.

Dingiei Hill is one of the highest peaks in the Khasi country,
resembling in height and size the Shillong "Peak" which lies opposite
and to the north of it. There are many villages on this hill belonging
to the Shillong Siem. In olden days on the top of this hill grew a
gigantic tree overshadowing the whole world, the name of that tree
was "ka Dingiei." The Khasis came to a determination that if this
tree were cut down (lit. destroyed) the world would become good and
would have light, for as long as it (the tree) remained standing,
the world remained dark and unfruitful. They accordingly came to an
unanimous decision to fell it. When they cut (the tree) during the
day and went back next morning, they found that the marks of cutting
had been obliterated. Thus they cut each day, and next morning they
found that the marks had disappeared. This was the case always. Then
they marvelled why this thing was thus. They asked questions and
they investigated; ka phreid (a very small bird) said "all this has
happened because a tiger comes every night to (the foot of) the tree
and licks the part of the tree which has been cut." Thereupon the men,
having plied their axes and knives the whole day in cutting the tree
(instead of carrying them away as usual), tied them to the incisions,
with their edges pointing outwards. So when the tiger went as usual at
night to lick the incisions, the sharp blades of the axes and knives
cut his tongue. Thenceforth the tiger ceased to go to the tree; and as
the tiger ceased to lick the incisions, the mark was not obliterated
as before. So their work went on progressing every day until ka
Dingiei fell. Thus the world received light, and cultivation throve,
and there was nothing more to stand in the way of the light of the sun
and the moon. It was for that reason that the name of "U Lum Dingiei"
was given to the hill. Nobody knows what became of the tree, for since
the time it fell its species has died out and there is no seed of it
(to be found) anywhere on the earth from which it can be grown.

U Lum Dingiei.

U lum Dingiei u long u wei u lum uba jrong shibun ha ri Khasi. U
syrim ha ka jing jrong bad jingkhraw ia u lum Shillong, bad u long
marpyrshah jong u shaphang Shatei. Halor une u lum don bun ki shnong
hapoh u Siem Shillong. Mynhyndai halor une u lum don kawei ka dieng
kaba khraw shibuin eh haduh ba ka la kah dum ia ka pyrthei baroli
kawei, ka kyrteng kata ka dieng ki khot ka Dingiei. Ki khun Khasi ki
la ia kut jingmut ba lada yn ioh pynduh noh ia kane ka dieng ka'n bha
ka'n shai ka pyrthei, namar katba ka dang ieng, ka pyrthei ka dum bad
ka'm lah ban seisoh. Kumta ki la ia ieng da kawei ka jingmut ba'n ia
khet noh ia ka. Te ynda ki la pom ia ka mynsngi, ki leit pat mynstep
ki shem ba la dam noh ka dien pom. Kumta ki pom biang sa ha kawei ka
sngi, ynda lashai mynstep ka dam-pa-dam biang. Shu kumta barabor ka
long. Hangta ki la lyngngoh, hato balei ka long kumne. Ki ia kylli ki
ia tohkit; ong ka phreid (ka sim kaba rit shibun) "kane ka jinglong
ha dam kumne haba phi la pom ka long namar u khla mynmiet mynmiet u
wan jliah ia ka dien ba phi la pom." Te kumta ki khun bynriew ynda
ki la lah pom mynsngi baroh shi sngi, mynmiet ki teh pyn-ang da ki
wait ki sdi ka kata ka jaka ba ki la lah pom . Kumta u khla haba
u wan mynmiet u jliah phot u thyllied haba kynduh ha kita ki syrti
wait syrti sdi. Kumtah naduh kata ka por um wan shuh; bad ynda um ioh
shuh ban jliah kata ka dien pom u khun bynriew, ruh kam dam shuh. Shu
nangdep ka jingtrei man ka sngi haduh ba la kyllon ka Dingiei. Kumta
sa shai pher ka pyrthei bad sa manbha ka thung ka tep ka rep ka sei
ynda ymdon ba shar shuh ia ka sngi ia u buai. Namarkata ki sa ioh
ban khot kyrteng ia une a lum "u Lum Dingiei." Ia ka jinglong kane
ka Dingiei ym don ba tip ei-ei naduh kata ka por haduh mynta, namar
naduh ba la kyllon ka iapduh [32] bad ym don symbai ba kan pynmih
haei-haei ha ka pyrthei haduh kane ka sngi.

Concerning the Origin of the Siems of Shillong.

The Siem of Shillong is a very great and powerful chief in the Khasi
Hills. He is generally known throughout the Khasi Hills as the "god
king". By the term "god king" is meant that God has been pleased to
give over to him the largest portion of the Khasi country, i.e. the
kingdom of Shillong, to rule. If you seek for the origin of these
"god kings," you will find there is great uncertainty about it. At
any rate there is a tradition amongst the Khasis to the following
effect. In olden days a rumour got abroad that there was a woman in
a cave called Marai, which is situated near the present village of
Pomlakrai, at the source of the river Umiew or Umiam. She was a young
and very beautiful damsel. Of the reality of the damsel's existence
there is no question. Many tried to catch her, but they could not,
owing to the narrowness of the cave. There came, however, a certain
very clever man who went to entice her by showing her a flower called
"u tiew-jalyngkteng." The damsel then came (out) near to snatch the
flower, but the man went on holding back his hand until she came out
into a more open place, when he seized her. He then brought her to his
house and carefully tended her, and afterwards he married her. That
damsel was called "_Ka Pah Syntiew_, the flower-lured one," because
that man caught her by coaxing and enticing her with a flower. That
man, who came from the village of Nongjri in the Bhoi country, was
called the Nongjri Kongor. After she had given birth to daughters and
sons, she returned, to the same place whence she had been captured,
and from that time forth she never came out again, however much her
husband and children called and implored her. Her children increased
in stature and in wisdom and the people hearing of the wonderful
origin of their mother, came from all parts of the country to look at
them. The children also were very clever at showing their humility
and good manners in the presence of the elders. All the people (in
return) loved them and considered them to be the children of the
gods and did homage to them. It occurred to the nobles and leaders
of the Shillong Raj to appoint them Siems, because (they said) the
children had been born of a wonderful woman, who, it seemed very
clear, was the daughter of the "god Shillong." Therefore they gladly
decided to appoint them Siems in the country of Shillong, (i.e., the
present Khyrim and Mylliem States). The children thus became Siems,
and they were called "Ki Siem-Blei" (the god kings) of Shilong. [33]

Shaphang ba long U Siem Shillong.

U Siem Shillong u long uwei u Siem uba khraw shibun bad uba don bor
ruh ha kane ka ri lum Khasi. Ia une u Siem la jiw bna baroh kawei ka
ri ba u long u Siem-Blei. Haba ong Siem-Blei ka mut ba U Blei u la i
mon sngewbha ba'n aiti ha u ban synshar ia kawei ka bynta kaba khraw
ha ri Khasi. Ha une la ai ba'n synshar ha ri Shillong. Haba wad ia ka
jingsdang jong kine ki Siem Blei don shibun ka jingb'ym thikna. La
kumno-kumno ka don ka jingiathu-khana kum kane kaba harum ha pydeng
ki Khasi haduh kane ka sngi. Ha kaba nyngkong eh la byna ha don kawei
ka briew ha ka krem Marai, kaba hajan ka shnong Pomlakrai mynta, ha
tyllong ka wah Umiew ne Umiam. Kata ka briew kaba dang met samla kaba
bhabriew shibun eh. Ia kaba ka don, ka don hangta barabor, bad bun ki
ia pyrshang ban kem ia ka, kim lah namar ka long ka krem kaba khim. Te
ynda la mih uwei u briew uba kham sian u la leit khroh ia ka da kaba
pyni da u syntiew uba ki khot u tiew-ja-lyngkteng. Kumta katno ka briew
ka la wan hajan ba'n kynieh ia uta u syntiew, te uta u briew u nangring
da kaba pynran ia la ka kti khyndiat khyndiat haduh ka'n da mih ha kaba
kham kylluid ka jaka, u sa kem ia ka. Hangta u la wallam sha la ieng,
u ri u sumar bha ia ka, bad hadien-hadien u la shongkurim ia ka. Te
la khot kyrteng ia kata ka briew ka Pah-syntiew, namar ba uta u briew
u ioh kem ia ka da kaba khroh ba pah da u syntiew. Uta u briew u long
uba na Nongjri Bhoi, bad ki jiw khot u Kongor Nongjri ia u. Te ynda
ka la kha ki khun, kynthei bad shynrang, ka la leit phet sha kajuh ka
jaka na kaba u la ioh kem ia ka, bad naduh kata ka por ka'm wan shuh,
la'u tnga ki khun ki leit khot leit pyrta katno-katno ruh. Kita ki
khun ki la nangshait nang sian, bad ki briew ruh, haba ki la bna ia
ka jinglong kaba phylla ka jong ku kmie jong ki, ki la wan khnang na
kylleng ki jaka ba'n khmih ia kita ki khynnah. Te kita ki khynnah ki la
nang shibun ba'n leh rit ba'n leh don akor ha khmat ki tymmen briew,
ki briew ruh baroh ki a ieit ia ki bad ki tharai ba ki long ki khun
Blei. Kumta ki la ia nguh ki la ia dem ia kita ki khynnah bad hadien
kata ka la jia ha ki dohnud kiba khraw-batri, ki tymmen-ki-san ha ka
ri Shillong ban thung Siem ia ki namar ki khynnah ki long kiba la wan
kha da ka briew kaba phylla shibun, kaba imat eh ba ka long ka khun
u Blei Shillong. Te kumta ki la ia kut da ka mon snowbha baroh ba'n
thung Siem ia ki ha ka hima Shillong, bad kumta la long Siem kita ki
khynnah, ki synshah bad ki khot ruh ia ki Siem-Blei-Siem-Shillong.

U Loh Ryndi and Ka Lim Dohkha.

The Syntengs give the following explanation of the origin of Siems
of Suhtnga. There was a man from War Umwi named U Loh Ryndi. He went
one day to fish in the Umwi stream. When he had caught only one fish,
he returned home. He roasted the fish and placed it on the _tyngir_
(a swinging shelf above the hearth). He forgot that it was there, and
did not remember to eat it. The next morning he went out for a walk to
the hill. When he returned home in the evening, he found his house had
been swept and looked after, and that the rice had been cooked. He was
much surprised at this. The next day the same thing happened. When this
state of things continued to occur, he made a pretence of going for a
walk to the hill and he called his dog. But he concealed himself the
whole day outside the village, and when it was time for cooking rice
(evening), he returned home. When he saw that smoke was rising from the
house, he crept up stealthily in order that he might suddenly enter the
house. Finding a woman there, he said, "Who art thou?" She replied,
"I am Ka Lih Dohkha. I am the fish whom thou didst catch and forget
to eat. She forthwith added, "Thou must not let any one know. I have
many relatives. Come, let us go and fetch them to come here." So Ka
Loh Ryndi bade his mother take care of the house until his return from
his journey. They went together and arrived at the place where he had
caught her, and she jumped into the water and he remained on the dry
land. After a while she returned, bringing with her her relatives,
but how many of them there were is not known. They all went to the
house of U Loh Ryndi. When Ka Lih Dohkha began to enter the house,
and was about to cross the threshold, she saw a broom which his mother
had placed on the threshold. She therefore abruptly turned back with
all her relatives to the river. After that U Loh Ryndi saw in a dream
that Ka Lih Dohkha had gone by the river Umwai Khyrwi to a village
called Suhtnga. (Since that time all the fish have left the river up
to the present day.) He accordingly went to angle for her in that
stream, and when he had caught her, he found that she looked after
him just the same as before. After that he married Ka Lih Dohkha and
she bore him twelve daughters and a son. When the children of U Loh
Ryndi and Ka Lih Dohkha grew up, both of them returned to the stream
Umwai Khyrwi. It is said that from the fishing rod of U Loh Ryndi,
which he left on the bank of the stream, there grew up bamboos,
the joints and leaves of which grow upside down to the present day.

U Loh Ryndi bad Ka Lim Dohkha.

Ki Synteng ki batai ia ka jinglong tynrai ki Siem Suhtnga kumne. La
don u wei U War Umwi, uba kyrteng U Loh Ryndi, uba la leit khwai
dohkha na ka Wah Umwi; te ynda la ngat tang kata kawai u la wan
noh sba la ieng. Ynda u la syang u la buh noh halor tyngir ha ka
ruh. Hangta u la klet bad um kynmaw shuh ban bam ia ka. Kumta ynda
la-shai mynstep u la leit kai pat sha lum, te haba u la wan noh la
jan miet u la shem ia ka iing jong u ba la sar la sumar bad ka ja ba
la ih. Mynkata u la lyngngeh shiban ba ka long kumne. Te kum la-shai
ka la long kumjuh. Ynda ka shu dem iailong kumne-pa-kumne la ban sin
eh, ynda kumta u la leh ia lade kum u ban sa leit lum, u da ting ia
u ksew. Hinrei u la rih noh baroh shi sngi harud nong, bad ynda la
poi ka por shet ja u la wan noh sha iing. Te mynba u la ioh-i ba la
tydem ding ha ieng u la syntiat bha biang ba un ioh rung kynsan bluit
hapoh. Hynda kumta u la shem ia ka kynthei hangta. U la ong ia ka,
"Pha kaei"? Ka la ong ia u, "nga long Ka Lih-dohkha, ma nga, nga long
kata ka dohkha ba me la ngat bad me la klet ban bam." Ynda kumta ka
la ong ia u "me wat pyntip iano iano ruh, nga don ki kur shibun eh,
ngin ia leit shaw ia ki ban wan noh shane." Kumta U Loh Ryndi u la
buh ia la ka kmie ban sumar ia ka iing tad ynda un wan na ka jingleit
jong u. Ynda ki la ia leit ki la poi ha kata ka jaka ba u la ngat ia
ka. Ynda kumta ka la sid ha ka um, u te u nang sah ha ka ryngkew. Te
la shibit ka la wan pat sha u bad ka wallam lem bad ka ia ki kur,
hinrei ki long katno ngut ym lah banong, bad ki la leit baroh sha ka
iing U Loh Ryndi. Te mynba Ka Lih Dohkha ka la sydang rung ha iing,
hamar be kan sa jam ia ka shahksew ka la ioh-i ia u synsar ba la buh ka
kmie jong u hapoh kata ka shahksew; namarkata ka la kylla din bak bad
ki kur jong ka sha kata ka wah. Hadin kata U Loh Ryndi u la phohsniw,
u la ioh-i ha kata ka jingphohsniw ia Ka Lih Dohkha ba ka la leit noh
sha ka shnong ba ki khot ka Suhtnga ha ka Umwai-khyrwi (naduh kata
la jah noh ki dohkha ha ka wah Umwi haduh mynta). Te u ruh u la leit
sha kata ka wah ban khwai ia ka, bad ynda u la ngat u la shem ba ka
sumar ia u kumjuh. Ynda nangta u la shongkurim bad Ka Lih Dohkha,
bad u la ioh khun khadar ngut ki kynthei uwei u shynrang. Ynda la
rangbah kita ki khun u Loh Ryndi bad Ka Lih Dohkha ki la leit noh
baroh ar ngut ha kata ka Umwai Khyrwi. Te ki ong ba na u ryngwiang
khwai jong U Loh Ryndi, harud um ba u la ieh noh, la long ki shken
kiba ka mat ka long khongpong bad ka sla de kumjuh jen haduh mynta.

Kyllang and Symper.

Kyllang is a hill which is near the village of Mawnai in Khadsawphra,
and Symper is a hill which is situated in the Siemship of Maharam. The
old folks say that there are gods which inhabit these hills, which
are called U Kyllang and U Symper. These gods had a quarrel for some
reason that we mortals do not know. They fought by throwing mud at
one another. After they had fought, once or twice, U Kyllang proved
victorious. So U Symper, having been humiliated, sits quietly in his
own place to this day, and U Kyllang sits very proudly because be was
victorious in the fight. The holes which are like tanks in U Symper's
sides remain to this day; it is said that U Kyllang made those holes
during the battle.

U Kyllang [34] bad U Symper.

U Kyllang u long u lum uba hajan ka shnong Mawnai ha Khadsawphra
bad U Symper u dei u lum uba long ha ri Maharam. Ha kine ki lum ki
tymmen ki jiw tharai ba don ki blei kiba shong hangto kiba kyrteng
U Kyllang bad U Symper. Kine ki blei baroh ar ngut ki la ia kajia
namar kano kano ka daw kaba ngi u bynriw ngim lah ban tip. Te ki la
ialeh baroh ar ngut da kaba ia khawoh ktih. Ynda ki la ialeh shi por
ar por jop U Kyllang. Kumta U Symper u shong pynrit ia lade ha la ka
jaka jar-jar haduh mynta, bad U Kyllang u shong da kaba sngew khraw
sngew sarong shibun ba u la jop ha ka jingialeh. Ki thliw kiba long
kum ki pukri kiba don ha ki krung u lum Symper ki sah haduh mynta;
ki ong ba la pynlong ia kito ki thliw da U Kyllang ha ka por ialeh.

The Siem creating stone at Mawsmai.

On the outskirts of Mawsmai village, and to the west of it, stands a
hill; it is a very beautiful hill. From a distance it looks like the
hump of a bull. It has big trees growing on it, as people are afraid
to cut them because they believe that the god "Ryngkew" is there,
who takes care of and protects the country. This hill has two names,
U Mawlong Siem and U Lyngkrem. U Mawlong Siem is the smaller (peak)
on the southern side, and U Lyngkrem the taller one, in which there is
a cave. The Mawsmai people sacrifice once or twice a year according
to the god's demand. The Mawsmai people have, besides U Mawlong
Siem, other village gods (called "Ryngkew"). The name of the one is
"U Rangjadong," and the name of the other "U Ramsong." Sacrifices
are offered to these two also. U Mawlong Siem is a very great and
stern god. The other gods dare not engage in battle with him. He
has a daughter called "Ka Khmat Kharai" (i.e. the mouth of the
abyss). The god of the Umwai people fell in love with this daughter,
but he was unable to obtain her in marrage, as U Mawlong Siem did
not like him. It is not possible to know the exact reason why the
name of U Mawlong Siem was given to him, but at any rate it appears
that the name arose from the fact that in olden days before the death
of a Siem there used to be heard at "Mawlong Siem" a great noise of
beating of drums. The Mawsmai and the Mawmluh people used to hear it,
and they attributed it to the god "Mawlong Siem," who beat the drum
for his children to dance to. At any rate, when this sound is heard,
it never fails to portend the death of a Siem. It appears that this
hill was called "Mawlong Siem" for that reason.

U Mawlong Siem ha Mawsmai.

Harud 'nong Mawsmai don u wei u lum uba shaphang sepngi na ka
shnong. Une u lum uba i-tynnad shibun. Ban khymih na sha jingngai u
long kum u syntai masi kyrtong. U don ki dieng kiba khraw ki bym jiw
don ba nud ban thoh ban dain namar ba ki niew ba u long U Ryngkew u
blei uba sumar uba da ia ka muluk ka jaka. Ia une u lum ki khot ar
kyrteng, U Mawlong Siem bad U Lyngkrem, U Mawlong Siem u long uta uba
kham lyngkot shaphang shathi, bad U Lyngkrem u long uta uba jerong eh
bad uba don ka krem Pubon hapoh. Ia une U Mawlong Siem ki Mawsmai ki
jiw ai jingknia da u blang shisin shi snem ne shi sin ar snem katba
u pan. Ki Mawmluh ruh ki leh kumjuh na la shnong. Nalor une U Mawlong
Siem ki Mawsmai ki don shuh ki Ryngkew hajan shgong, uwei U Rangjadong
bad uwei pat U Ramsong. Ia kine ki knia. Une U Mawlong Siem u long
u blei uba khraw shibun bad uba eh. Ki para blei kim nud ban ia leh
thyma ia ki. U don kawai ka khun kaba kyrteng "Ka Khymat Kharai,"
u blei ki Umwai u i-bha ia ka, hinrei um lah poi namar U Mawlong
Siem um sngewbha ia u. Ban tip thikna ia ka daw balei ba khot kyrteng
Mawlong Siem ia u ym lah ban tip; hinrei la kumno kumno i-mat ba kane
ka kyrteng ka la mih namar ba mynhyndai haba yn sa iap Siem la jiw
ioh sngew hangta ha U Mawlong Siem ba don ka jingsawa tem ksing kaba
khraw shibun. Ki Mawsmai bad ki Mawmluh ki jiw ioh sngew, bad ki jiw
tharai ba u blei Mawlong Siem u tem ksing ban pynshad khun. Lei lei
haba la ioh sngew kum kata ka jingsawa ym jiw pep ia ka ban iap Siem,
bad i-mat ba na kata ka daw la khot kyrteng ia une u lum Mawlong Siem.

Why There Are Spots On The Moon.

In olden days there was a woman who had four children, three girls
and one boy. Their names were these, Ka Sngi (sun), Ka Um (water),
Ka Ding (fire), and U Bynai (moon). These four children belonged to
rich gentle folk. The Moon was a wicked young man, for he began to
make love to his elder sister, Ka Sngi. In the beginning the Moon was
as bright as the Sun. When the Sun became aware of his bad intentions,
she was very angry. She took some ashes in her hand and said to him,
"do you harbour such an incestuous and wicked intention against me,
your elder sister, who has taken care of you and held you in her
arms, and carried you on her back like a mother does; now I will
cover your brow with ashes, you wicked and shameless one; begone
from the house." Then the Moon felt very much ashamed, and from
that time he gave out a white light because the Sun had covered him
with ashes. What we see like a cloud (on the Moon) when it is full,
are the ashes which adhered from the time the Sun covered him with
them. The three daughters, however, remained at home to take care of
their mother, until she grow old and died.

Kumno ba la Thoh dak U Bynai.

La don kawei ka briew mynhyndai kaba don saw ngut ki khun, lai ngut
ki kynthei bad u wei u shynrang. Ki kyrteng jong ki ki long kine,
Ka Sngi, Ka Um, Ka Ding, bad U Bynai. Kine baroh saw ngut ki la long
ki khun riwbba khun don burom shisha shisha. Te une U Bynai u la long
u briew uba riwnar, u sydang ban i-bha ia la ka hynmen, Ka Sngi. Une
U Bynai ruh ha kaba mynnyngkong u long uba phyrnai hi ryngkat Ka
Sngi. Te ynda ka Sngi ka la sngewthuh ia ka jingmut riwnar jong u
ka la sngew bittar shibun bad ka la shim u dypei ha la ka kti bad ka
la ong ia u, "da kum kane ka kam kaba sang kaba sniw phi thew ia nga
ka hynmen kaba la thum la bah, la sumar sukher kum ka kymie ryngkat;
mynta ngan tep da u dypei ia ka shyllang-mat jong me u riwnar u khlem
rain,--khie phet noh na iing." Te U Bynai u la sngew rem sngew rain
shibun eh. Bad naduh kata ka por U Bynai u kylla da ka jinghai kaba
lih namar ba tep Ka Sngi da u dypei. Bad uta uba ngi ioh-i ha U Bynai
kum u l'oh ha ka por ba u pyllun u long u dypei kein uba sah naduh
ba tep Ka Sngi. Te ki sah lai ngut ki para kynthei kiba sumar ia la
ka kmie ba la sydot la tymmen haduh ba kan da iap.

"Sohpet Byneng" Hill.

In olden days, when the earth was very young, they say that heaven
and earth were very near to one another, because the navel-string of
heaven drew the earth very close to it. This navel-string of heaven,
resembling flesh, linked a hill near Sumer with heaven. At that time
all the subjects of the Siem of Mylliem throughout his kingdom came
to one decision, i.e. to sever the navel-string from that hill. After
they had cut it, the navel-string became short; and, as soon as it
shortened, heaven then ascended high. It was since that time that
heaven became so high, and it is for that reason that they call that
hill which is near Sumer "U Sohpet Byneng."

U Lum Sohpet Byneng.

Mynhyndai mynba dang lung ka pyrthei ki ong ba ka byneng bad ka khyndew
ki ia jan sbibun namar ba U Sohpet Byneng u ring ia ka byneng ba'n
wan kham hajan. Une U Sohpet Byneng u long kum ka doh kaba snoh na u
wei u lum uba hajan Sumer bad ka snoh ruh ia ka byneng. Te mynkata
ka por ki khun ki raiot U Siem Mylliem baroh kawei ka hima ki ia
ryntieh kawei ka buit ban ia ieng ba'n khet noh ia uta U Sohpet
Byneng na uta u lum. Te ynda ki la ialeh ba'n khet ia u u la dykut,
bad tang u shu dykut ka byneng ka la kiw theng sha jerong. Kumta ka
shu jngai kumne ka byneng naduh kata ka por ba dykut U Sohpet Byneng
nalor uta u lum. Kane ruh ka long ka daw namar balei ba la khot ia
uta u lum uba don hajan Sumer "U Lum Sohpet Byneng."

How the Dog came to live with Man.

In olden days, when the world was young, all the beasts lived happily
together, and they bought and sold together, and they jointly built
markets. The largest market where all the beasts used to take their
articles for sale was "Luri-Lura," in the Bhoi country. To that
market the dog came to sell rotten peas. No animal would buy that
stinking stuff. Whenever any beast passed by his stall, he used to
say "Please buy this stuff." When they looked at it and smelt it, it
gave out a bad odour. When many animals had collected together near
the stall of the dog, they took offence at him, and they said to him,
"Why have you come to sell this evil smelling, dirty stuff?" They then
kicked his ware and trampled it under foot. The dog then complained
to the principal beasts and also to the tiger, who was at that time
the priest of the market. But they condemned him, saying, "You will be
fined for coming to sell such dirty stuff in the market." So they acted
despitefully towards him by kicking and trampling upon his wares. When
the dog perceived that there was no one to give ear to his complaint,
he went to man, who said, "Come and live with me, and I will arise
with you to seek revenge on all the animals who have wronged you." The
dog agreed and went to live with man from that time. Then man began
to hunt with the assistance of the dog. The dog knows well also how
to follow the tracks of the animals, because he can scent in their
footprints the smell of the rotten pea stuff which they trod under
foot at Luri-Lura market.

Kumno u Kseq u la wan Shong bad u Briew.

Mynhyndai, mynba dang lung ka pyrthei shibit, ki mrad ki mreng lai
phew jaid ki ia suk ki ia lok para mrad, bad ki ju ia-die-ia-thied, ia
thaw iew thaw hat ryngkat. Te ka iew kaba khraw tam eh kaba poi baroh
ki lai phew mrad ba'n wallam la ki jingkhaii pateng ka long ka Iew
"Luri-Lura" ba ri Bhoi. Ha kata ka iew u ksew u wan die 'tung rymbai,
te ym man don ba pan thied satia ia kata ka ktung. La iaid kawei ka
mrad u tyrwa, "To thied kane ka ktung." Haba ka la khmih bad ka la iw,
kaba iwtung pynban, la iaid kawei pat ruh shu shem ba ka long kumta,
kaba sniew bad kaba iwtung ka jingdie jong u ksew. Te haba ki la ialang
kham bun ha ka basa jong u ki la phoi ia u ksew, ki ong "balei me wan
die ia ka ktung kaba iw jakhlia?" bad ki la kynjat ia ka jingdie jong
u bad ki la iuh hapoh slajat. Te u ksew u la mudui ha ki para mrad kiba
kham rangbah bad ha u khla uba long lyngdoh, ha kata ka iew. Pynban ki
la pynrem ia u, bad ki la ong, "yn dain kuna ia me uba wan die ia ka
jakhlia ha ka iew ka hat." Kumta ki la leh bein ia u da kaba iuh kaba
kynjat ia kata ka ktung. Te u ksew haba u ioh-i b'ym don ba sngap ia
ka jingmudui jong u, u la wan sha u bynriew, bad u bynriew u la ong
"To wan shong noh bad nga nga'n ieng ryngkat bad me ba'n wad kyput ia
ki lai phew mrad kiba leh bein ia me." Te kumta u ksew u la kohnguh
bad u la wan shong bad u bynriew naduh kata ka por. Nangta sa long
ka beh mrad u bynriew ryngkat bad ka jingiarap u ksew. U ksew ruh u
tip ba'n bud dien ia ki mrad, namar u sngewthuh ba ka dien ka khnap
ka mrad baroh ka don ka jingiw-khong ba la sah ka jingiw naduh kata
ka por ba ki iuh ia ka ktung rymbai jong u ha ka Iew Luri-Lura.

The "Thlen."

In olden days there was a market in the village of Langhiang Kongkhen,
and there was a bridge sacred to the gods there. All the children
of men used to frequent that heavenly market. They used to pass by
Rangjirteh, where there is a cave which was tenanted by a gigantic
"thlen." When they went to that market, as soon as they arrived at
Rangjirteh they were swallowed up by the "thlen." The "thlen" did this
in obedience to an order he had received. If ten people went there,
five of them were swallowed up; half of them he devoured, and half
of them he let go. But any one who went alone was not touched by the
"thlen," for it was necessary for him to leave untouched half (of
the number of those who went). When many people had been devoured,
and when they saw that all the children of men would be destroyed,
whether they were Khasis or plains people, they held a great durbar
at Sunnai market to which both Khasis and plains people went. They
considered together as to how to devise a means by which they could
slay the "thlen" which had devoured the children of men. After they
had deliberated for a long time they decided to adopt the following
plan. In the grove that is close to Laitryngew, which is called
"the grove of U Suidnoh," there was a man called "U Suidnoh." They
counselled together to get "U Suidnoh" to make friends with the
"thlen." This Suidnoh was a courageous man who did not care for any
one. He used always to walk alone; so when he went to the "thlen,"
the latter did not eat him because there was no one else with him
who could be let go. The people advised U Suidnoh that he should
go and give the "thlen" flesh every day, either goats, or pigs, or
cattle. After he had done this for a long time, the "thlen" became
tame, and was great friends with U Suidnoh. When both of them became
very intimate thus, the children of men advised U Suidnoh to build a
smelting house. So he built a smelting house and made the iron red-hot,
and, holding it with a pair of tongs, took it to the "thlen." When
he arrived he said to the "thlen," "Open your mouth, open your mouth,
brother-in-law, here is some flesh." As soon as he opened his mouth,
he threw the red-hot iron down his throat. The monster then struggled
and wriggled so violently in its death agony that the earth shook as if
there had been an earthquake. When U Suidnoh saw the death struggle of
the "thlen," he fainted (from excitement). The quaking of the earth
startled all the children of men, and they thought that something
had happened. When U Suidnoh did not return home his family went
to look for him, for they knew that he had gone to feed the "thlen"
with red-hot iron. They found him there lying in a faint. When they
had revived him, they asked him why he had fainted thus. He replied,
"When I was feeding the 'thlen' with red-hot iron, he struggled
and wriggled and I fainted. Come, let us go and see what has become
of him." They then went and found that the "thlen" was dead. They
then published abroad all over the world that the "thlen" was dead,
and they convened a durbar to decide about eating him. In the durbar
they came to the following understanding, i.e. that the Khasis should
eat half, and the plains people half (of the body). After they had
come to this decision in the durbar, they then went to take him out
of the cave, and they lifted him on to a rock. They there cut into
pieces the "thlen's" carcase. The plains people from the East, being
more numerous, ate up their share entirely, not leaving anything--for
this reason there are no "thlens" in the plains; but the Khasis from
the West, being fewer in numbers, could not eat up the whole of their
share; they left a little of it. Thus, because they did not eat it
all, the "thlen" has remained with them. U Suidnoh gained for himself
fame and honour, which he enjoys up to the present day. The Khasis,
therefore, when they find that the hair or the clothes of any one
belonging to them have been cut, refer the matter to U Suidnoh, and
they sacrifice to him. The Syntengs also have their "thlen," but he
differs much from the Khasi "thlen." The Syntengs also believe he is
a kind of serpent, and there are some families and clans who keep
him and worship him like a god. They sacrifice to him a pig only;
they do not propitiate him with human blood as the Khasis do. [35]

Shaphang U Thlen.

Mynhyndai la don ka iew ha Langhiang Kongkhen, ba don ka jingkieng blei
hangta. Baroh ki khun bynriw ki ia wan ha kane ka iew blei. Ki iaid
lynti na Rangjirteh, kaba don ka krem u thlen uba khraw eh. Te katba
ki leit sha kane ka iew blei tang shu poi ha Rangjirteh la nguid noh u
thlen. U ieh kum ha kane ka rukom kat kum ka hukum ba u la ioh. Lada
iaid shiphaw ngut, san ngut la nguid noh; shiteng shiteng la bam,
shiteng shiteng la pyllait noh. Hinrei ia uba iaid wei briew ym bit
ba'n bam. Ka dei ba'n da pyllait shiteng shiteng. Te ynda la lut
than eh ki briew, ki i ruh kum ba'n sa duh ki khun bynriew baroh,
bad Khasi bad Dykhar, hangta ki la sydang ba'n lum ka dorbar bah ha
ka iew Sunnai, u Dykhar u hangta u Khasi ruh hangta. Ki ia pyrkhat
ba'n ioh ka buit ka lad da kumno ki lah ba'n pyniap noh ia u thlen
uba la bam duh ia u khun bynriew. Ynda ki la dorbar kham slem ki
la ioh ka lad kaba biang kumne. Ha kata ka khlaw hajan Laitryngew
kaba ki khot 'law Suidnoh la don uwei uba kyrteng "U Suidnoh"
ki la ong ba'n pynialok ia U Suidnoh bad U Thlen. Une U Suidnoh u
long uba riwnar u b'ym jiw iaid ryngkat briew. Wei briw, wei briw,
u iaid. Kumte haba u leit sha U Thlen ruh u'm bam satia namar ba U
Thlen hi ruh u'm jiw bam ha b'ym don jingpyllait. Ki briew ki la sylla
ia U Suidnoh ba un leit ai doh ia u hala ka sngi; u ai da ki blang,
ki sniang, ki massi. Haba la leh kumta kham slem U Thlen u la juh,
u la ia lok bha bad "U Suidnoh." Te ynda kine ki la ia juh bha,
u khun bynriew u la bythah pat ia U Suidnoh ba u'n shna shlem, bad
u la shna shlem ba'n pyrsut nar-wah. Ynda u la pyrsut ia u nar haduh
ba u la saw bha hain u la khap na ka lawar ding bak bad katba u dang
saw dang khluid bha u la leit lam ha U Thlen. Tang shu poi u ong "Ko
kynum ang, ang, kane ka doh," bad iang u shu ang u la thep jluk ha u
pydot. Hangta U Thlen u la khih u la lympat u la kyrhtat u la ksaid
iap baduh ba la win ka khyndew kumba khih u jumai. Hangta U Suidnoh,
haba u ioh-i ia ka jingksaid iap U Thlen, u ruh u la iapler b'ym tip
briew shuh. Te kata ka jingwin ka khyndew ka la pynkyndit ia u khun
bynriew baroh ha ka pyrthei, bad ki la pyrkhat ba la jia ei ei. U
Suidnoh u'm poi shuh sha la iing, te kiba ha iing jong u ki la leit
wad, namar ki la tip ba u la leit ai jingbam ha U Thlen da u nar saw:
hangta ki la shem ba u la iap ler, bad ki la pynkyndit ia u bad ki
la kylli ia u "Balei me iapler kumne?" U ong, "Hamar ba nga dang
ai jingbam ia U Thlen da u nar saw ba la pyrsut bha, u la kyrthat,
khih lympat U Thlen bad nga la iap ler. "Ia, ia leit khymih kumno u
la long." Ynda ki la ia leit khymih ki shem ba la iap U Thlen. Hangta
la pynbyna haw ia ka pyrthei baroh be la lah iap U Thlen, bad u lum
ka dorbar ba'n bam noh ia u. Hangta ha ka dorbar ki la ia kut kumne:
ki Khasi ki'n bam shiteng bad ki Dykhar ki'n bam shiteng. Ynda la
ia kut kumta ha ka dorbar ki la ieng ba'n leit sei noh na ka krem,
bad ki la rah halor u mawsiang. Hangta ki la ia shain ia dain ia
ka doh U Thlen lyngkhot lyngkhot. Ki Dykhar na mih-ngi, namar ba ki
kham bun briew ki la bam lut ia la ka bynta, kim shym pynaah ei ei,
kumta ym don Thlen shuh ha pyddeng ki Dylhar. Hinrei ki Khasi, na
sepngi namar ba ki kham duna briew ki'm shym lah ba'n bam lut ia la
ka bynta, ki la pynsah katto katne. Kumta namar ba ki'm shym bam lut,
U Thlen u dang sah. U Suidnoh u la ioh la ka nam la ka burom haduh
mynta. Namar haba ki Khasi ki shem ba la ot shniuh ne ot jain ki
pynkit halor U Suidnoh bad ki ai jingknia ia u. Ki Synteng ruh ki don
la U Thlen hinrei u pher shibun na U Thlen Khasi. Ki Synteng ruh ki
ngeit ba u long u kynja bysein, bad don ki iing bad ki jaid kiba jiw
ri ia u bad ki mane kum u blei. Ki ai jingknia ia u tang da u sniang,
hinrei kim ai da ka snam briew kumba ai ki Khasi kiba ri ia u.

About the River "Rupatylli" at Duwara.

In ancient times, when the world was still young, there were two river
goddesses who lived on the Shillong Peak; perhaps really they were
the daughters of the god of the Peak. These two wagered one against
the other that each would be the first to arrive in the Sylhet plains
by cutting a channel for herself. They agreed to start from Shillong
Peak. One followed the channel of the Umngot, and the other that of
Umiew or Umiam. The one that followed the channel of Umngot chose a
soft and easy bed, and although the way was a longer one, she did not
find it a trouble to go by a circuitous route. When she reached the
Sylhet plains she was called "Shengurkhat," and she then flowed past
Chhatak, and so reached Duwara. She looked round to see where Umiam
was, but she could not descry her anywhere. So out of playfulness she
flowed slowly, and she formed a channel like a necklace (_rupatylli_)
by way of waiting to see where Umiam was. Umiew was very proud,
she felt strong enough to make the channel she chose, and although
it was through the midst of hills and rocks, she cared not a bit;
so she wasted time by digging through the hills and boulders. When
she reached Shella, she thought she could easily beat Umngot, for the
course she had taken was a very straight one. When she got a little
below Shella she saw Umngot shouting for joy with foaming waves in
the Rupatylli channel at Duwara. She was covered with shame, and she
slackened her speed and split herself up into 5 branches, namely,
ka Umtong, ka Torasa, ka Pasbiria ka Kumarjani, and ka Duwara. Umiam
did this so as to hide her shame from Umngot. This is how the river
Rupatylli was formed at Duwara, to be a token that Umngot had been
victorious in her contest with Umiew. [36]

Shaphang ka wah. Rupatylli ha Duwara.

Hyndai mynba dang lung ka pyrthei la don ar ngut ki blei um kiba shong
ha lum Shillong. Lehse shisha ki long ki khun u blei Shillong. Kine
ki la ia kop ba'n ia mareh ba'n ia pynpoi kloi sha ri madan Shilot da
kaba ia pom mar kawei ka wah. Kumta ki la ia kut bad ki la ia mih na
Shillong kawei ka Umngot bad kawei ka Umiew ne Umiam. Kata ka Umngot
ka bud ia ka lynti na ba, jem ba jem, la ka long kham jingngai ruh
kam sngew salia ba'n iaid kyllain. Kumta ka la poi ha Shilot ba'n
khot ka wah Shengurkhat bad ka iaid haduh Shattok, bad ka poi ha
Duwara. Ka khymih ia ka Umiam haei-haei-ruh, te ym ioh-i. Kumta ka
la leh suki kai, ka thaw ka rupa tylli hangto ba'n long kumba sangeh
ba'n ioh-i ia ka Umiam. Ka Umiew ka long kaba kham sarong, ka sngew
khlain ba'n iaid na ka lynti kaba bit la ka long da ki lum ne ki maw,
ka'm suidniew, kumta ka la pynlut por ha kaba tih ia ki lum bad ki
maw. Ynda ka la poi ha Shella ka la shu mut ba'n jop ia ka Umngot
namar ka lynti jong ka ka long kaba beit eh, te ynda ka la poi harum
Shella khyndiat ka la ioh-i ia ka Umngot ba ka la risa da ka jingkhie
dew ha ka wah Rupatylli ha Duwara. Kumta ka la sngew rain suin bad
ka la leh suki noh da kaba pynpait tynat ia lade san tylli, kawai
ka Umtang; ar ka Umtarasa; lai ka Pasbiria; saw ka wah Kumarjani;
san ka wah Duwara. Kumne ka la leh khnang ba'n buh riah ia la ka
jingkhein burom ha khymat ka Umngot. Kumta sa long ka wah Rupatylli
ha Duwara namar ka long ka dak ka jingjop ka Umngot ia ka Umiew.

The Kupli (Kopili).

The Kopili river rises in the "Black Mountains," [37] and flows
northwards into the Brahmaputra. It is the boundary between the
country of the Syntengs and that of the Hadems. [38] Any traveller
who wishes to cross this river must leave behind him the rice which
he has taken for his journey, and any other food that he may have
taken with him. If he does not do so, even if he crosses the river
at an unforbidden point, he is liable to offer a sacrifice to the
Kopili goddess. The people offer to her three fowls and three goats
outside the village, i.e. one to the goddess herself, and the other
two to her sons, U Shyngkram and U Jali; and five fowls, that they
may all three feast together; this is the case of one transgression
only. But in the case of a man who has committed more than one, it
is not possible to say how many goats and fowls must be sacrificed,
because the river often demands offerings on account of a man's
parents or relatives having crossed the river at some time or other.

From the time of the old Siem to that of U Ram Singh Siem, they used
to sacrifice to this great goddess two persons during the months
of November and December at the time of offering: a sacrifice at
Jaintiapur. After a ceremony performed by the Brahmins at Jaintiapur,
the victims are led to the Mawshai (Shangpung) market, where they are
allowed to take and eat anything they like. After that they conduct
them to Sumer; but some say that the stone on which the victims are
beheaded is situated below the village of Ka Lew Kai, near a stream
which falls into the Kopili, and where there is a _mawkynthei_
(flat table-stone) close to that sacred river.

They place the victims on that stone, where the executioner beheads
them with a terrible sword. After that they throw the dead bodies
their heads into the river. But in the days of U Markuhain (U Raj
Indro Singh) "who was our contemporary" they have ceased to do so out
of fear of East India Company. The victims are known by the name of
"Mugha Khara."

At the time all the people of the territory of the twelve dolois were
in great state of terror. It is said that the victim-catchers, when
they inquired about the clan (of their intended victims), conducted
themselves as if they did not intend to do anything. When the people
told their clan, then they caught them. When they heard that the
people belonged to clans from which _kongngors_ [39] were selected,
they did not arrest them. When it was impossible to get hold of any
one else, they sacrificed some of the (king's) slaves.

Shaphang Ka Kupli, U Shyngkram bad U Jali, ki Khun jong ka.

Ka Kupli ka long ka wah na ki lum baiong bad ka tuid da artet ha ka
wah Brahmaputra. Ka long ka pud ia ka ri Synteng bad ka ri. Hadem ha
mihngi. Uno-uno u nongleit jingleit uba kwah ban jam ia kane ka wah
Blei-Kupli u don kam ba'n bred noh ia la u khaw-ryneng ha shiliang wah,
bad ia ki kynja jingbam baroh phar, te un sa klan ia ka. Lada u'm da
leb kumta, la'u klan na ka jaka ka b'ym sang ruh un hap jingainguh ha
ka. Ki khun-ki-hajar ia ka ha lum lai s'iar, lai blang kawei ia ka,
marmar uwei ia U Shyngkram bad U Jali; bad san s'iar ba ki'n ia bam
sngewbha baroh lai ngut shi khun shi kymie, kata ka long haba long
tang kawei ka lait, hinrei haba ka'n long katba shong ka lait u briew
lei-lei, ngam tip ka'n long katno blang katno siar namar haba dei ka'n
wan pan ka jingknia namar ba la klan ia ka na khlieh lane na kyjat
da u kynie u kypa kano-kano ka iing lane kano-kano ka kur. Naduh ki
sngi ki Siem Tymmen haduh ki sngi U Ram Singh Siem ia kane ka blei
bah ka kymai u lei ba khraw ki knia da ki briew ar-ngut shi snem shi
snem hamar u bynai ba ki puja ne ai nguh ha Jaintiapur. kata, hamar u
'nai wieng bad u 'nai nohprah. Ynda ki la knia ha Jaintiapur da ki
Bramon, ki sa ia lam ia ki sha ka iew Mawshai ne ka iew Shangpung
ba ki'n bam shiwa katba mon na kata ka iew. Nangta pat sha Sumer,
kiwei pat ki ong ba u maw ba ki khrai khlieh ia ki Muga Khara u don
harum ka shnong Iewksi hajan kawei ka wah kaba tuid sha ka Kupli--
sha ka jaka ba don ka maw kynthei harud kata ka wah blei Kumta ki sa
kyntiw halor kata ka maw kynthei ia ki; nangta pat wan sa u nongkhrai
khlieh bad ka wait ba i-shyrkhei, u khrai ia ki hangta. Hadin kata ki
sa shat ia ki met-iap sha um bad ia ki khlieh jong ki ruh de. Hinrei
ha ki sngi U Markuhain ne U Raj-Indro Singh uba ha Khyjong ngi mynta
ym long shuh kumta namar ba u tieng ia ka Kompani. Ia kine ki briew
ba ki knia ki khot kyrteng ia ki ki Muga Khara.

Mynkata ki bynriew shi khadar doloi sngew tieng, ki ong ba ki nongkem
ki da kylli shiwa ia ka jaid, ki da leh ia lade kum ki bym mut ba'n
leh ei-ei-ruh, te ynda kita ki briw ia kibe ki mut ba'n kem ki la ia
thuh ia la ka jaid ki sa kem ia ki. Haba ki sngew ba ki long na ka
jaid kaba jiw long kongngor ki'm jiw kem. Te haba ym ioh eh ki knia
da ki mraw Siem.

The Village of Mawpun-ka-Rytiang (Mawpunkyrtiang).

There was in olden days a woman called Ka Rytiang of the Siem
clan. Whilst she was still a spinster, she used to go to catch fish
in a stream over which there is to the present day a bridge made of a
single stone, called Mawpun ka Rytiang. Whilst she was catching fish
in the midst of the stream a fit of drowsiness overtook her. At that
very moment there approached her a very handsome young man, who thus
addressed her; "Take this drumful of money; do not marry, and thou
shalt nevertheless bear children. Thou must throw a bridge built of a
single stone across this stream, thou must build thy house entirely of
stone, the beams must be all of stone. Thou must spend all the money
I have given thee, and if it does not suffice for thy expenditure,
I shall bring more. Thou wilt remember all that I say?" She replied
"yes." As soon as he had finished speaking to her, she awoke from her
fit of drowsiness, and found herself holding a drumful of money. On her
way home she pondered over what he had said to her, and her heart was
full of joy that she had met a god who had given her so much money,
and who had spoken such words to her. She then constructed a bridge
over that stream, with a single stone, which remains till this day.
[40] When she was about to build her house, it happened that she
got married notwithstanding; she gave birth to a blind child,
and died shortly afterwards. So the people called the village
"Mawpun-ka-Rytiang," or, when abbreviated, "Mawpunkyrtiang."

Ka Shnong Mawpun-ka-Rytiang (Mawpunkyrtiang).

Te la don mynhyndai kawei ka briew kaba kyrteng ka Rytiang, ka jaid
Siem. Mynba ka dangsamla ka leit tong sher na kata ka wah kaba don
u Mawpun uba ki khot haduh mynta u Mawpun ka-Rytiang. Hamar ba ka
dang tong sher ha pyddeng um ka lamshoh sam thiah hangta. Hamarkata
ka por la mih u wei u briew uba bhabriew shibun eh, bad u ong ha ka,
"Heh kane ka tyngka shi sing nalai; te pha wat shongkurim shuh ho;
koit, ki khun pha'n ioh hi, bad pha'n pun uwei u mawpun na Shilliang
sha shilliang kane ka wah, bad thaw iing ba phan shong da ki maw suda
ki rijid ki rishot, kiei kiei baroh thaw da ki maw. Pha'n pynlut
kane ka tyngka baroh, bad lada ym dap ruh ngan sa wallam pat. Phan
kynmaw ho ia kaba nga la ong baroh." Ka ong "haoid." Te kumne-kumne,
tang shu la dep kine ki ktin baroh ba u kren, ka la kyndit na kata ka
jingshoh samthiah, bad ka tyngka ka don ha ka kti jong ka shi'sing
nalai. Te ynda ka la wan sha la iing, artat artat ka lynti ka la
puson ha la ka mynsim da kaba kymen ba ka la iashem ia u blei uba la
ai katne ki tyngka bad uba la kren kum kine ki ktin. Te kumta ka la
ring u mawpun uba don baduh mynta. Bad hamar ba ka dang sydang ba'n
thaw sa ka iing ka lap ba ioh tynga noh pynban; kumta ka kha u khun
da uba matlah bad tang shibit ka iap noh. Kumta ki ioh ban khot ka
shnong Mawpun-ka-Rytiang, lane haba kren lyngkot Mawpunkyrtiang.

The Siem of Malyniang.

The Siem of Malyniang was one of those kings who, people said, was one
of the "god-kings." He lived in the village of Madur, which is now in
the Maskut doloiship. There arose from the royal family of Malyniang
a king whose name was Kyllong Raja. His manner was very peculiar,
but he was at the same time both stern and courageous. He made up
his mind to conquer the whole of the Synteng country as well as the
territory of the Siem of Shillong, in order to extend his own kingdom
of Madur. This Kyllong did not require many followers when he went to
war because he was a very strong man and a man whom nobody could kill,
for, if he was killed he came to life again immediately. The Synteng
king once chopped him up into pieces and threw his hands and feet
far away, and thought he would not come to life again. Nevertheless,
next morning he came to life just the same, and he walked along all
the paths and by-ways to intercept his enemies. The Synteng king was
in great trouble on his account, and was at a loss for a plan how to
overcome him, because, having been killed once or twice, he came to
life again.

When the Synteng king had thought well over matter, he hit on a
device which he thought a very good one, by which he could ascertain
by what manner of means he came to life again after having once been
killed. The Synteng king's stratagem was the following. He selected the
most beautiful girl in the Synteng country, he put on her ornaments
of gold and of silver and royal raiment of great price, and he said
to her, "All these will I give thee, and more besides, if thou canst
obtain for me the secret of Kyllong Raja, and canst inform me how
he brings himself to life again after being killed. Now I will send
thee to the market there, and if Kyllong Raja takes a fancy to thee,
and if he is willing to take thee to wife, thou wilt go, and thou
wilt pretend to love him as far as is in thy power. Afterwards thou
wilt inquire regarding all his secrets and wisdom, i.e. how he comes
to life again after he has been killed; and after thou hast found
out all these things, thou wilt inform me, so that I may overcome
him. Then, if thou art successful in thy mission, I will give thee a
great reward." He then sent her to the market. Kyllong Raja saw her
and fell in love with her, and he took her to wife and kept her at
Madur. Then that damsel pretended to love him exceedingly, and she
repeatedly asked him his secret, how he came to life again. Then
Kyllong Raja, fancying that she really loved him, confessed all to
her. He said, "My life depends upon these things. I must bathe every
day and must wash my entrails" (hence the appellation of "the king
who washes his inside" which they gave him), "after that I take my
food, and there is no one on earth who can kill me unless he obtains
possession of my entrails. Thus my life hangs only on my entrails."

When, therefore, that damsel who had become his wife had learnt all
these things, she sent word to the Synteng king that he should send
one of his elders, to whom she might reveal the secret of U Kyllong's
existence. When the Synteng king heard this, he sent his elders to
her. She then told all those things that U Kyllong had confessed to
her. When the Synteng king had heard everything, he gave orders to the
people to be on the watch so as to get hold of U Kyllong Raja. They
found him one day bathing, with his entrails placed on one side of
the bathing-place, so that afterwards he might wash them. Thereupon
a man from Ralliang seized the entrails and killed him. He cut the
entrails into little pieces and gave them to the dogs. Thenceforth U
Kyllong Raja was not able to come to life again. Madur was conquered,
and all the members of the royal family of Malyniang were scattered
from that time. Seven generations have passed since then. [41]

Shaphang U Siem Malyniang

U Siem Malyniang u la long uwei u Siem ba jiw byna ba u long u
kynja Siem blei. Une u la shong ha ka shnong Madur kaba long mynta
ha ka ilaka u doloi Maskut. Ha ka jaid Siem Malyniang la mih uwei uba
kyrteng U Kyllong Raja. Une u Siem uba phylla shibun ha la ka jinglong,
u briew uba eh uba shlur. U la thymu ban job ia ka ri Synteng baroh
bad ia ka ri Shillong ban pynkhraw ia la ka hima Madur. Une u Kylong
u'm donkam shibun ki nongbud ban leit ia leh ia kano-kano ka thyma,
namar u long u briew uba khlain shibun bad u by'm jiw don uba lah ba'n
pyniap ia u. La ki pyniap ruh u im pat kumne-kumne. U Siem Synteng u
la pom ia u tukra-tukra, u la bred ia ki kyjat ki kti sha jingngai,
bad u la tharai ba u'n ym im shuh, pynban tang la mynstep u la im
hi kumjuh, u la iaid ia ki lad ki dong ban sywait ia ki nongshun. U
Siem Synteng u la shitom shibun ia u bad u la duh buit ruh da kumno yn
leh ba'n jop ia u, haba shi sin ar sin la pyniap u shu im pat kumjuh
pakumjuh. Te haba u Siem Synteng u la pyrkhat bha u la shem kawei ka
buit kaba u tharai ba ka long kaba bha tam bad kaba u lah ban tip da
kano ka rukom ne ka jingstad ba u im pat haba la pyniap ia u. Ka buit
jong u Siem Synteng ka la long kumne. U la shim kawei ka samla kaba
bhabriew tam na ka ri Synteng baroh, u pyndeng ki jingdeng ksiar ki
jingdeng rupa, bad u pynkup ki jain Siem kiba kordor eh, bad u ong
ha ka "ngan ai ia pha kine baroh, bad ngan ai shuh ruh nalor kine
lada pha'n ioh ia ka buit u Kyllong Raja ban iathuh ha nga da kumno u
lah ban pynim pat ia lade haba pom ia u. Te mynia nga'n phah ia pha
sha ieu shato, lada une u Kyllong Raja u i-bha ia pha, bad u'n shim
ia-pha ban long ka tynga jong u, phan leit, bad phan leh ieit ia u
katba lah. Hadin sa kylli ia ka buit ka jingstad baroh, da kumno u
im pat haba la pom ruh, bad ynda pha la tip ia kita baroh sa pyntip
sha nga ba nga'n sa jop ia u. Te lada pha'n leh kumta nga'n ai buskit
ia pha shibun ho. Kumta u pbah iew soit ia ka. Te une U Kyllong Raja
u la iohih ia ka, bad u la i-bha shisha ia ka, bad u shim iaka ba'n
long ka tynga jong u. U buh ia ka ha Madur. Te kata ka samla ka la
leh ieit ia u shibun eh bad ka kylli byniah ia ka buit ka jingstad
ba u im pat. Hangta une u Kyllong Raja, haba u iohih ba ka leh ieit
shibun u phla ia kiei-kiei baroh hak-a. U ong, "Ka jing im jong-nga ka
long kumne:-- nga dei ban sum ha la ka sngi bad ban sait ia la ki snir
(nangta la khot ia u "U Siem sait-snir"). Hadin kata ngan sa bam ja,
bad y'm don mano-mano ba lah ban pyniap ia nga lada ki'm ioh ia ki
snir. Kumta ka jing-im jong nga ka sydin tang ha ki snir hi." Kumta,
ynda kata ka samla, ka tynga jong u, ka la ioh tip ia kata baroh ka
phah ktin sha u Siem Synteng ba'n wan uno-uno u rangbah ba ka'n iathuh
ia ka jingim bad ka jingiap u Kyllong Raja. Te u Siem Synteng ynda
u la sngow ia kata ka ktin shi syndon u la phah ia la ki rangbah sha
ka. Te ka la iathuh ia kiei-kiei baroh katba u Kyllong Raja u la phla.
Te u Siem Synteng ynda u la tip ia kane baroh u la ai hukum ia ki
briew ba ki'n khiar ban ioh ia u Kyllong Raja. Te ha kawei ka sngi
ki la lap ia u ba u sum bad u la buh ia ki snir ha kata ka jaka ba u
sum ba u mut ban sait ia ki. Hangta uwei u briew uba na Ralliang u la
shim ia ki snir jong u bad u pom ia u; ia kita ki snir u la pyndykut
lyngkot lyngkhai bad u la ai ha ki ksew. Naduh kata ka por u Kyllong
Raja u'm lah shuh ba'n im pat, bad kumta la jop ia ka Madur,
la pynsakyma ia ka jaid Siem Malyniang naduh kata ka por. Te naduh
kata haduh mynta la duh hinniew kyrteng bynriw.

U Manik Raitong and his Flute

In the northern portion of the Khasi Hills which borders on the Bhoi
country there lived a man, by name U Manik. The people nicknamed him
"U Manik Raitong," because he was an orphan, his parents, his brothers
and sisters, and the whole of his clansfolk having died. He was very
poor in addition. U Manik Raitong was filled with grief night and
day. He used to weep and deeply groan on account of his orphanhood
and state of beggary. He did not care about going out for a walk, or
playing like his fellow youths. He used to smear himself with ashes
and dust. He used to pass his days only in weeping and groaning,
because he felt the strain of his misery to such an extent. He made
a flute upon which to play a pathetic and mournful tune. By day
he used to work as a ploughman, whenever he was called upon to do
so. If nobody called him, he used to sit inactive at home, weeping
and groaning and smearing his rags with dust and ashes. At night he
used to bathe and dress himself well, and, after having eaten his
food, he used to take his flute and play on it till morning. This
was always his practice. He was a very skilful player. He had twelve
principal tunes. There lived in the same village a queen. Her husband,
the Siem, used to be absent from home for long intervals in connection
with his public duties. One night, when the queen heard the strains
of U Raitong's flute, she listened to them with very great pleasure,
and she felt so much compassion for him that she arose from her
couch at midnight and went to visit him. When she reached his house,
she asked him to open the door, so that she might pay him a call. U
Raitong said "I can't open the door, as this is not the time to pay
visits," and he went on playing his flute and dancing to the music,
with tears in his eyes. Then the queen peeped through one of the chinks
of the wall and saw him, and she was beside herself, and breaking
open the door she entered in. Then U Raitong, having stopped playing,
was annoyed that, to add to his misfortunes, this woman had come to
trouble him thus. When she tried to beguile him, U Raitong admonished
her and sent her away. She departed just before daybreak. U Raitong
then took off his fine clothes, and putting on his rags, sprinkled
himself with dust and ashes, and went to plough as was his wont. The
queen, however, ensnared him by another device, and whilst the king
was still away in the plains, she gave birth to a male child. When
the Siem returned, he was much surprised to find that she had borne a
child during his absence, and however much he asked her to confess,
she would not do so. So the king called the elders and young men to
judge the case, and when no proof was found concerning this business,
the king appointed another day, when all the males (in the State)
should appear, each man holding a plantain. On the appointed day,
all the males of the State having appeared, the king told them all
to sit in a circle and to show their plantains, and said, "We will
place this child in the midst, and to whomsoever the child goes,
he is his father, and the adulterer. We will beat him to death with
clubs according to the law." Accordingly, when all the people sat in a
circle, and the child was placed in the midst, he went to no one, and,
although the king called and coaxed him much, he nevertheless refused
to go. Then the king said, "Remember who is absent." All replied,
"There is no one else except U Manik Raitong." The Siem replied,
"Call, then, U Raitong." Some of the people said, "It is useless to
call that unfortunate, who is like a dog or a cat; leave him alone,
oh king." The king replied, "No, go and call him, for every man must
come." So they called him, and when he arrived and the child saw him,
the child laughed and followed "U Raitong." Then the people shouted
that it was U Raitong who had committed adultery with the queen. The
king and his ministers then ordered that U Raitong should be put to
death outside the village. U Raitong said, "Be pleased to prepare
a funeral pyre, and I will burn myself thereon, wicked man that I
am." They agreed to his request. U Raitong said to those who were
preparing the funeral pyre, "When I arrive near the funeral pyre,
set fire to it beforehand, and I will throw myself in, and you stand
at a distance." Then U Raitong went and bathed, dressed himself well,
and, taking his flute, played on it as he walked backwards to the
funeral pyre; and when he arrived close to it, they lighted it as he
had told them to do. He walked three times round the pyre, and then
planted his flute in the earth and threw himself into the flames. The
queen, too, ran quickly and threw herself on the pyre also. After
U Raitong and the queen had been burned, a pool of water formed in
the foundations of the pyre, and a bamboo sprang up whose leaves grew
upside-down. From U Raitong's time it has become the practice to play
the flute at funerals as a sign of mourning for the departed.

U Manik Raitong bad ka Sharati jong u.

La don uwei u briw shaphang shatei ha ka ri Khasi ha khap ri Bhoi
uba kyrteng U Manik. Ki briw ki la sin ia u U Manik Raitong namar
ba u long u khun swet uba la iap baroh ki kymi, ki kypa, ki hynmen,
ki para bad ki kur ki jaid. U long ruh uba duk shibun. Une U Manik
Raitong u dap da ki jingsngowsih synia sngi, u iam ud jilliw ha la
ka mynsim namar la ka jinglong khun swet long pukir. Um jiw kwah ban
iaid kai leh kai kum ki para samla; u sum da ka dypei da ka khyndew
ia lade, u pynleit la ki sngi ki por tang ha ki jingud ki jingiam
ba u sngowisynei ia ka pyrthei sngi ba shem shitom haduh katne. Te
u la thaw kawei ka sharati ban put ka jingiam briw bad jingriwai
sngowisynei. Mynsngi mynsngi u jiw leit bylla pynlur masi haba la
don ba wer, haba ym don u shong khop-khop ha la iing, u iam u ud,
u sum dypei sum khyndew halor la ki jain syrdep jot. Mynmiet mynmiet
u sum u sleh, u kup bha kup khuid; bad ynda u la lah bam lah dih u
shim ka sharati u put haduh ban da shai. Barobor u jiw leh kumta. Ha
kaba put ruh u long uba nang shibun, u don khadar jaid ki jingput
kiba kongsan tam ha ka jingput jong u. Te la don ka mahadei ha kata
ka shnong kaba u tynga jong ka u long u Siem Rangbah ha ka Hima. Une
u Siem u leit sha Dykhar ban pyndep bun jaid ki kam Siem jong u, bad
u dei ban jah slem na la iing. Kane ka mahadei ha kawei ka miet haba
ka la ioh sngow ba'riew ka sharati U Raitong ka la sngowbha shibun
eh ban sngap, bad haba ka la sngap ka la sngow ieit sngowisynei ia
U Raitong haduh ba ka la khie joit shiteng synia ban leit kai sha
U Raitong. Te haba ka la poi tiap ha khymat ka iing jong u ka la
phah plie ban wan kai. U Raitong u ong ym lah ban plie namar kam
long ka por ba dei ban wan kai. Kumta u put la ka jingput bad la
ka jingshad nohlyngngeb pynjem ryndang jaw ummat. Te ke mahadei,
haba ka la khymih na kawei ka thliew kaba pei, ka la iohih ia u;
hangta lei-lei kam don pyrthei shuh haduh ba ka la kyddiah ia ki
jingkhang bad ka la rung shapoh iing. Kumta U Raitong u la wai noh
la ka jingput bad u sngowsib, halor ba shem kat kane ka pyrthei sngi,
sa kane ruh nang wan leh ih-bein kumne. Haba ka la lam pynsboi ia u,
U Raitong u la sneng ia ka bad u la phah nob ia ka, te ka la leit
noh haba ka sydang ban shai pher. U Raitong u la law la ki jain bha,
u la shim la ki syrdep bad, u dypei ban leh kumta u jiw leh bad u la
leit pynlur masi. Hinrei kane ka mahadei ka la riam ia u da kawei pat
ka buit. Te katba u Siem u nangsah ha Dykhar ka la nang kha i wei i
khun shinrang, bad haba u la wan u la sngow phylla shibun eh ba ka
la ioh khun haba um don. La u kylli byniah katno-katno ruh kam phla
satia. Kumta U Siem u la lum ia u tymmen u san, u khynraw khyndein,
baroh ban bishar, te haba ym shem sabud ei ei shaphang kane ka kam,
kumta u buh ha kawei ka sngi ba yn wan u shinrang briw baroh katha don,
kin wallam bad lakait kawei-kawei man u briw. Ynda la poi kata ka sngi,
baroh ki la wan na ka hima, bad U Siem u ong, phin shonq tawiar baroh,
pynih la ka kait, ngin buh ia une u khunlung ha pyddeng, jar haba une
a khunlung un leit uta dei u kypa bad uba klim, ia uta yn shoh tangon
ha bynda iap kum ka ain ka jiw long. Kumta te haba la shong tawiar u
paitbah byllin, la bah ia uta u khunlung ha pyddeng. Uta u khunlung
um leit hano-hano ruh, la khot la khroh. U Siem katno katno ruh um
treh. "To ia ia kynmaw sa man u bym don hangne" ong U Siem. Baroh ki
ong, "ym don shuh, sa tang U Raitong." "Khot te ia U Raitong," ong
U Siem. Don katto katne na pyddeng uta a paitbah kiba ong. "Ym khot
makna ia uba pli, uba kum u ksew, u miaw, yn nai Siem." "Em shu khot
wei u kynja shinrang briw dei ban wan." Te la khot is u, bad haba u
la poi tiap uta u khunlung u khymih u sam rykhie bad u leit bud ia
U Raitong. Kumta risa shar u paitbah baroh ba U Raitong u la klim ia
ka mahadei. Te U Siem bad la ki Myntri ki la ai hukum ban leit pyniap
noh ia U Raitong sharud nong. Te u ong "phi da sngowbha shu thaw da
la ka jingthang ngan thang hi ia lade wei nga u riwnar ruser. Kumta ki
la shah ia kata ka jingpan jong u. Te U Raitong u la ong ha kita kiba
thaw jingthang. "Ynda nga poi sha jan jingthang sa nang ai ding lypa
ngan sa nang thang hi, phi kynriah noh sha jingngai. Kumta U Raitong
u wan sum wan sleh, u kup bha sem bha, u shim ka sharati u put, u leit
da kaba iaid dadin shaduh jingthang. Te ynda u la poi ha jan ki la buh
ding kumta u la ong; ynda poi ha jingthang u iaid tawiar lai sin ia ka,
u sih ka sharati ha khyndew, bad u thang ia lade. Ka Mahadei ruh da
kaba kyrkieh ka la mareh sha kata ka jingthang bad ka ruh ka la thang
lem hangta ia lade. Kumta ynda la ing U Raitong bad kata Ka Mahadei,
long da ka um ha kata ka nongrim jingthang, bad mih u shken uba long
ka mat sha khongpong. Naduh U Raitong sa long ka sharati haduh mynta
ban put iam briw ban pynih la ki jingsngowsih na ka bynta kiba la iap.




The Khasis, like the Alfoors of Poso in Celebes, seem to be somewhat
reluctant to utter the names of their own immediate relations, and of
other people's also. Parents are very frequently called the mother
of so and so (the child's name being mentioned), or the father of
so and so, cf. _Ka kmi ka Weri, U kpa u Philip_. The actual names
of the parents, after falling into desuetude, are often entirely
forgotten. The origin of the practice may be that the Khasis, like
the Alfoors, were reluctant to mention their parents by name for fear
of attracting the notice of evil spirits. The practice of teknonomy,
however, is not confined to the Khasis or the Alfoors of Celebes
(see footnote to page 412 of the "Golden Bough"). The custom is also
believed to have been prevalent to some extent not long ago in some
parts of Ireland.

The advent of the Welsh Missionaries and the partial dissemination of
English education has in some cases produced rather peculiar names. I
quote some instances:--

U Water Kingdom, Ka Mediterranean Sea, Ka Red Sea; U Shakewell Bones,
U Overland, Ka Brindisi, Ka Medina, Ka Mary Jones, U Mission, and
Ka India.

Khasi Method of Calculating Time.

The Khasis adopt the lunar month, _u bynai_, twelve of which go to
the year _ka snem_. They have no system of reckoning cycles, as is
the custom with some of the Shan tribes. The following are the names
of the months:--

_U kylla-lyngkot_, corresponding to January. This month in the Khasi
Hills is the coldest in the year. The Khasis turn (_kylla_) the fire
brand (_lyngkot_) in order to keep themselves warm in this month,
hence its name _kylla-lyngkot_.

_U Rymphang_, the windy month, corresponding with February.

_U Lyber_, March. In this month the hills are again clothed with
verdure, and the grass sprouts up (_lyber_), hence the name of the
month, _u Lyber_.

_U Iaiong_, April. This name may possibly be a corruption of u
_bynai-iong_, i.e. the black moon, the changeable weather month.

_U Jymmang_, May. This is the month when the plant called by the
Khasis _ut'ieu jymmang_, or snake-plant, blooms, hence the name.

_U Jyllieu_. The deep water month, the word _jyllieu_ meaning
deep. This corresponds to June.

_U naitung_. The evil-smelling month; when the vegetation rots owing
to excessive moisture. This corresponds with July.

_U'nailar_. The month when the weather is supposed to become clear,
_synlar_, and when the plant called _ja'nailar_ blooms. This is August.

_U'nai-lur_. September. The month for weeding the ground.

_U Ri-saw_. The month when the Autumn tints first appear, literally,
when the country, _ri_, becomes red, _saw_. This is October.

_U'nai wieng_. The month when cultivators fry the produce of their
fields in _wieng_ or earthen pots, corresponding with November.

_U Noh-prah_. The month when the _prah_ or baskets for carrying the
crops are put away (_buh noh_). Another interpretation given by Bivar
is "the month of the fall of the leaf." December.

The Khasi week has the peculiarity that it almost universally consists
of eight days. The reason of the eight-day week is because the markets
are usually held every eighth day. The names of the days of the week
are not those of planets, but of places where the principal markets
are held, or used to be held, in the Khasi and Jaintia Hills. The
following are the names of the days of the week and of the principal
markets in the district:--

Khasi Hills. Jaintia Hills.

1. Lynkah (Barpani or Khawang) Kylino.
2. Nongkrem Pynaing.
3. Um-Iong (Maolong the hat at Maolong. (Nartiang).
4. Ranghop (Ieu-bah at Cherra) Maosiang. (Jowai).
(Mawtawar in Mylliem)
(Unsaw in Nongkhlaw)
5. Shillong (Laitlyngkot) Maoshai. (Shangpung).
6. Pomtih or Pomtiah (Mawkhar, Pynkat. (Mynao).
small market)
7. Umnih Thym-blein.
8. Yeo-duh (Mawkhar, large market) Ka-hat. (Jaintiapur).

In the War country, markets are usually held every fourth day,
e.g. at Nongjri, Mawbang, Tyllap, and Shella. At Theria the market
is held every Friday, and at Hat-majai, or Rholagunj, every Tuesday.

The Lynngams.

Although mention has been made incidentally in various parts of
this monograph of Lynngam customs, it has been thought necessary
to give the Lynngams a separate chapter, as these people differ so
very greatly from the Khasis in their manner of life, and in their
customs. _Lynngam_ is the Khasi name; the Garo name for the Lynngams
is _Megam_. There are several _Megam_ villages in the north-eastern
corner of the Garo Hills district, and there is regular communication
kept up between these villages and the Lynngam inhabitants of the
Khasi Hills district. The Lynngams must not be confused with the
_Hana_ or _Namdaniya_ Garos who inhabit the low hills to the north
of the Khasi Hills district, and are called by the Khasis _Dko_. All
Lynngams claim to be Khasis, they dislike being called Garos; but
although it is true they speak what may be called a dialect of Khasi,
and observe some of the Khasi customs, the Lynngams are more Garo
than Khasi. Before proceeding further, it should be stated that the
Assamese of Boko call the Lynngams _Nuniya_ Garos, all hill people
being Garos to the Assamese of that region, without distinction or
difference. It is owing to these three different names being used for
the same people that there has been so much confusion about Lynngams
previously; e.g. at one census they were named _Lynngam_, at another
they received the appellation of Garo, and at a third enumeration
they were called Khasis. In Section I. the habitat of the Lynngams has
been roughly defined. It is impossible to define the Lynngam country
exactly, because these people are continually shifting their village
sites owing to the exigencies of _jhum_ cultivation, which has been
described in Section II. Some of the Lynngams preserve a tradition that
they originally came from the Kamrup plains. It is interesting that a
people, like the Garos in so many respects, should have the same idea
as the Garos as to the hills on the south bank of the Brahmaputra not
always having been their abode. The Garo legend is that they dwelt
for some years in the Goalpara and Kamrup plains after they descended
from Thibet, and before they moved to the Garo Hills; and there is
unmistakable evidence of their occupation of both districts in the
shape of certain Garo villages on both banks of the Brahmaputra for
some little distance up the river. If, as I suspect, the Lynngams are
an offshoot of the Garos, it is, perhaps, possible that they entered
the Khasi Hills much in the same way as the Garos entered the hill
district to which they have given their name. The Lynngams are much
darker than the Khasis, and possess the Thibeto-Burman type of feature
often to a marked degree. It is not extraordinary that they should
have adopted some of the Khasi customs; for the Khasis, being the
stronger people, would in course of time be bound to influence them
in this respect. That the Lynngams observe the matriarchate and erect
(some clans) memorial stones is not peculiar, because the Garos, like
the Khasis, are also a matriarchal people (to a limited degree), and
the custom of erecting memorial stones is not confined to the Khasis,
for other hill tribes in Assam observe the practice, e.g. certain
Naga tribes and the Mikirs; and the Garos themselves put up carved
posts, called _kima_, in honour of the departed. Although there is
not much intermarriage between the Khasis and the Lynngams nowadays,
perhaps in days gone by there was a mixture of blood, the result
being the hybrid race we are now considering. Some of the leading
characteristics of the Lynngams will now be detailed. The Lynngams
are by complexion swarthy, with features of Mongolian type. The men
are of middle height and the women remarkably short, both sexes being
not nearly so robust as the Khasis, a result due probably to climatic
influences, for the Lynngams live in fever- haunted jungles. The men
have very little hair about the face, although a scanty moustache is
sometimes seen, the hairs in the centre being carefully plucked out,
the result being two tufts on either side. Beards are never seen. The
women are ill-favoured, and wear very little clothing. The men wear the
sleeveless coat of the Khasi and Mikir pattern, called _phongmarong_,
which is made of cotton dyed red, blue, and white. This custom may
have been borrowed from the Khasi. They do not grow their own cotton,
but obtain it from the plains. They make their own dyes, _changlong_
(red) and _hur sai-iong_ (black). A cotton cloth, barely enough for
purposes of decency, is tied between the legs, the ends being allowed
to hang down in front and behind. Sometimes an apron is worn in
front. At the present day the men wear knitted woollen caps, generally
black or red, of the Nongstoin pattern (a sort of fisherman's cap),
but the elderly men and head-men wear turbans. The females wear a
cotton cloth about eighteen inches broad round the loins, sometimes
striped red and blue, but more often only dark blue. A blue or red
cloth is thrown loosely across the shoulders by unmarried girls, but
married women only wear the waist-cloth, like the Garos. A cloth is
tied round the head by married women, sometimes, Garo fashion. The
women wear quantities of blue beads as necklaces, like their Garo
sisters. They obtain the beads from the Garo markets at the foot
of the hills. Brass ear-rings are worn by both sexes; the women,
like the Garos, load their ears to such an extent with brass rings
as to distend the lobes greatly. Silver armlets are worn by the
head-men only, or by those who possess the means to give a great
feast to the villagers. This is the custom of the Garo _nokmas_, or
head-men. Both sexes wear bracelets. The men also wear necklaces of
beads. The rich wear necklaces of cornelian and another stone which
is thought by the Lynngams to be valuable. A necklace of such stones
is called _u'pieng blei_ (god's necklace). This stone is apparently
some rough gem which may be picked up by the Lynngams in the river
beds. A rich man amongst them, however, is one who possesses a number
of metal gongs, which they call _wiang_. For these they pay very high
prices, Rs. 100 being quite a moderate sum for one of them. Being
curious to see one of these gongs, I asked a _sirdar_, or head-man,
to show me one. He replied that he would do so, but it would take time,
as he always buried his gongs in the jungle for fear of thieves. Next
morning he brought me a gong of bell metal, with carvings of animals
engraved thereon. The gong when struck gave out a rich deep note
like that of Burmese or Thibetan gongs. These gongs have a regular
currency in this part of the hills, and represent to the Lynngams
"Bank of England" notes. It would be interesting to try to ascertain
what is their history, for no one in the Lynngam country makes them
in these days. Is it possible that the Garos brought them with them
when they migrated from Thibet? The gongs are well known in the Garo
Hills, and I hear that when a _nokma_, or head-man, there dies his
corpse is laid out upon them. They thus possess also an element of
sanctity, besides being valuable for what they will fetch to the
Garos or Lynngams. We may hope to hear more about them in Captain
Playfair's account of the Garos.

The Lynngams do not tattoo. Their weapons are the large-headed
Garo spear, the dao, and the shield. They do not usually carry bows
and arrows, although there are some who possess them. They are by
occupation cultivators. They sow two kinds of hill rice, red and white,
on the hill-sides. They have no wet paddy cultivation, and they do
not cultivate in terraces like the Nagas. They burn the jungle about
February, after cutting down some of the trees and clearing away some
of the debris, and then sow the paddy broadcast, without cultivating
the ground in any way. They also cultivate millet and Jobs-tears in
the same way. With the paddy chillies are sown the first year. The
egg plant, arum, ginger, turmeric, and sweet potatoes of several
varieties are grown by them in a similar manner. Those that rear the
lac insect plant _landoo_ tress (Hindi _arhal dal_) in the forest
clearings, and rear the insect thereon. Some of these people, however,
are prohibited by a custom of their own from cultivating the _landoo_,
in which case they plant certain other trees favourable to the growth
of the lac insect. The villages are situated near their patches of
cultivation in the forest. The villages are constantly shifting,
owing to the necessity of burning fresh tracts of forest every two
years. The houses are entirely built of bamboo, and, for such temporary
structures, are very well built. In front, the houses are raised some
3 or 4 ft. from the ground on platforms, being generally built on
the side of a fairly steep hill, one end of the house resting on the
ground, and the other on bamboo posts. The back end of the house is
sometimes some 8 or 9 ft. from the ground. At the end of the house
farthest away from the village path is a platform used for sitting
out in the evening, and for spreading chillies and other articles to
dry. Some Lynngam houses have only one room in which men, women, and
children an all huddled together, the hearth being in the centre, and,
underneath the platform, the pigs. Well-to-do people, however, possess
a retiring room, where husband and wife sleep. A house I measured at
Nongsohbar village was of the following dimensions:--Length, 42 ft;
breadth, 16 ft.; height of house from the ground to the eaves, front,
9 ft.; back 18 ft. Houses are built with a portion of the thatch
hanging over the eaves in front. No explanation could be given me for
this. It is probably a Garo custom. In some Lynngam villages there
are houses in the centre of the village where the young unmarried
men sleep, where male guests are accommodated, and where the village
festivities go on. These are similar to the _dekachang_ or bachelors'
club-houses of the Mikirs, Garos, and Lalungs, and to the _morang_
of the Nagas. This is a custom of the Thibeto-Burman tribes in Assam,
and is not a Khasi institution. There are also high platforms, some
12 ft. or 15 ft. in height, in Lynngam villages, where the elders sit
of an evening in the hot weather and take the air. Lynngam houses and
villages are usually much cleaner than the ordinary Khasi villages,
and although the Lynngams keep pigs, they do not seems to be so
much _en evidence_ as in the Khasi village. There is little or no
furniture in a Lynngam house. The Lynngam sleeps on a mat on the
floor, and in odd weather covers himself with a quilt, made out of
the bark of a tree, which is beaten out and then carefully woven,
several layers of flattened bark being used before the right thickness
is attained. This quilt is called by the Lynngam "_Ka syllar_" (Garo
_simpak_). Food is cooked in earthen pots, but no plates are used,
the broad leaves of the _mariang_ tree taking their place. The leaves
are thrown away after use, a fresh supply being required for each meal.

The Lynngams brew rice beer, they do no distil spirit; the beer is
brewed according to the Khasi method. Games they have none, and there
are no jovial archery meetings like those of the Khasis. The Lynngam
methods of hunting are setting spring guns and digging pitfalls
for game. The people say that now the Government and the Siem of
Nongstoin have prohibited both of these methods of destroying game,
they no longer employ them. But I came across a pitfall for deer not
long ago in the neighbourhood of a village in the Lynngam country. The
people declared it to be a very old one; but this I very much doubt,
and I fear that these objectionable methods of hunting are still
used. The Lynngams fish to a small extent with nets, but their idea
of fishing, _par excellence_, is poisoning the streams, an account
of which has already been given in this monograph. The Lynngams are
omnivorous feeders, they may be said to eat everything except dogs,
snakes, the _huluk_ monkey, and lizards. They like rice, when they
can get it; for sometimes the out-turn of their fields does not
last them more than a few months. They then have to fall back on
Jobstears and millet. They eat arums largely, and for vegetables
they cook wild plantains and the young shoots of bamboos and cane
plants. The Lynngams are divided up into exogamous clans in the same
manner as the Khasis. The clans are overgrown families. The Lynngams
have some stories regarding the founders of these clans, of which the
following is a specimen:--"A woman was asleep under a _sohbar_ tree
in the jungle, a flower from which fell on her, and she conceived
and bore a female child who was the ancestress of the Nongsohbar
clan." Some of the stories of the origins of other clans do not bear
repeating. There do not appear to be any hypergamous groups. As
with the Khasis, it is a deadly sin to marry any one belonging to
your own _kur_, or clan. Unlike the Khasis, however, a Lynngam can
marry two sisters at a time. The Lynngam marriages are arranged by
_ksiangs_, or go-betweens much in the same way as Khasi marriages;
but the ritual observed is less elaborate, and shows a mixture of
Khasi and Garo customs (see section III.). The Lynngams intermarry
with the Garos. It appears that sometimes the parents of girls exact
bride-money, and marriages by capture have been heard of. Both of these
customs are more characteristic of the Bodo tribes of the plains than
of the Khasis. There are no special birth customs, as with the Khasis,
except that when the umbilical cord falls a fowl is sacrificed, and
the child is brought outside the house. Children are named without
any special ceremony. The death customs of the Lynngams have been
described in Section III. A peculiar characteristic is the keeping of
the dead body in the house for days, sometimes even for several months,
before it is burnt. The putrefying corpse inside the house seems to
cause these people no inconvenience, for whilst it remains there, they
eat, carry on their ordinary avocations, and sleep there, regardless
of what would be considered by others an intolerable nuisance. The
religion of these people consists of a mixture of ancestor-worship
and the propitiation of the spirits of fell and fall, which are,
most of them, believed to be of evil influence, as is the case with
other savage races. As with the people of Nongstoin, the primaeval
ancestress, "_ka Iaw bei_," is worshipped for the welfare of the
clan, a sow being sacrificed to her, with a gourd of rice-beer,
and leaves of the oak, or _dieng-sning_ tree. The leaves of the oak
are afterwards hung up inside the house, together with the jaw bone
of the pig. Sacrifices are offered to a forest demon, _U Bang-jang_
(a god who brings illness), by the roadside; also to _Ka Miang Bylli
U Majymma_, the god of cultivation, at seed time, on the path to the
forest clearing where the seed is sown. Models of paddy stone-houses,
baskets and agricultural implements are made, sand being used to
indicate the grain. These are placed by the roadside, the skulls
of the sacrificial animals and the feathers of fowls being hung up
on bamboo about the place where the has been performed. There are
no priests or _lyngdohs_, the fathers of the hamlet performing the
various ceremonies. The Lynngams possess no head-hunting customs, as
far as it has been possible to ascertain. These people are still wild
and uncivilized. Although they do not, as a rule, give trouble, from
an administrative point of view, a very serious dacoity, accompanied
by murder, was committed by certain Lynngams at an Assamese village
on the outskirts of the Lynngam country a few years ago. The victims
were two Merwari merchants and their servant, as well as another
man. These people were brutally murdered by the Lynngams, and robbed
of their property. The offenders were, however, successfully traced
and arrested by Inspector Raj Mohan Das, and several of them suffered
capital punishment, the remainder being transported for life.



Before commencing to describe the more salient features of the Khasi
language, its grammar, and syntax, it seems to be of importance to
show how intimately connected Khasi is with some of the languages of
Further India. In the middle of the last century Logan pointed out
affinity between Khasi and these languages, but it has been left to
Professor Kuhn to prove this connection to demonstration. The examples
of comparative vocabularies which follow are taken from Kuhn's
"_Beitraege zur Sprachenkunde Hinterindiens_," Sir George Scott's
"Upper Burma Gazetteer," and Sir George Campbell's lists. It will be
seen from the collections of words that follow how Khasi possesses
many words in common with Mon or Talaing, Khmer, Suk, Stieng, Bahnar,
Annam, Khamen-Boram, Xong, Samre, Khmu, Lemet, Palaung, and Wa. There
is some correspondence, although perhaps to a lesser degree, between
Khasi and the Ho-Munda languages and those of Malacca and the Nancowry
language of the Nicobar Islands.

Let us now examine the table of numerals. The Khasi word for 1 is
_wei_, but in the Amwi dialect of Khasi it is _mi_. In Khmu the word is
_mui_, also in Suk; in Mon _mwoi_ and in Xong _moi_. The word for 2 is
identical in Khasi and Lemet, viz., _ar_. The word for 3, viz. _lai_,
is identical in Khasi and Wa: also compare Lemet _lohe_. Khasi _saw_
and Lakadong _thaw_ for 4 are, however, deviating forms. In the case
of 5, if we cut out the prefix _m_ in the Mon word _m'san_, we have
fairly close agreement with the Khasi _san_. In the numeral 6, if we
cut out the prefix _hin_ of the Khasi (_hin_)_riw_, and the initial
_t_ of Mon and Suk _t'rou, trou_, we have close agreement. In the
Khasi words for 7 and 8 the syllable _hin_ is but a prefix. This
is also probably the case in the Khasi word (_khyn_)_dai_ for 9,
and the _shi_ in the Khasi word _shiphew_, 10, merely means one.


Sue. Mon or Suk. Stieng. Bahnar. Annam. Khmen Xong. Samre.
Talaing. Boran.

1 mue mwoi mui muoi moin, mot mnay moi moe
2 bar ba bar bar bar hai bar pra pra
3 pei pi pe pei peng ba peh pe pe
4 puon pan puon puon puon bon pon pon pon
5 sung m'sun sung pram (po)dam nam pram pram pram
6 thpat t'rou trou prou (to)trou sau krong dam kadon
7 thpol t'pah pho poh (to)po bay grul kanul kanul
8 thkol dc'am tam pham (to)ngam tam kati kati katai
9 thke d'ceit kin en (to)xin chin kansar kasa katea
10 muchit cah chit jemat min muoi uai rai rai
jet jit chuk

Khan. Lomei. Palaung. Wa. Dialects of Khasi.
Khasi. Lakadong. Amwi. Synteng. Mymar or

1 mui mus(mos) le te wei bi mi wi mi
2 bar ar e(a) ra(a) ar a o ar ir
3 pe lohe oe lai lai loi la la lei
4 puon pun(pon) phun pon saw thaw sia so so
5 pfuong pan phan hpawn(fan) san than san san san
6 tol tal to laiya(lia) (hin)riw thro thrau ynro threi
7 kul pul phu a-laiya (hin)iew (hum)thloi ynthla ynniaw ynthlei
8 ti ta ta s'te(su'te) phra humpya humphyo phra humpyir
9 kash tim tim s'ti(su'ti) (khyn)dai hunsulai hunshia khyndo khyndai
10 kan kel ken(ko) kao (shi)phew shiphai shipho (shi)phaw shiphi

It will be seen that there is considerable similarity in the numerals
of the different languages up to six, the correspondence being most
strongly marked in the numerals 1, 2, 5, and 6. If we remember that
primitive people seldom can count higher than the number of digits
of one hand, the dissimilarity in the numerals, as the end of the
decade is approached, is probably explained. As the different people
speaking these languages advanced in civilization they learned to
count further; but by this time they had become in some cases like
those of the Khasis, the Palaungs, and Mons, widely separated from one
another. As they advanced in civilization, and found the necessity
of an improved notation, they manufactured numerals which differed
from one another, although they retained the first few numerals
they had made use of in their days of savagery. Let us now study
some extracts from Kuhn's interesting comparative vocabulary. [42]
We find many instances of agreement. I give some examples:--

_Heaven_.--Palaung, _pleng_; Khmer, _plieng_ (rain); Xong, _pleng_;
Khasi, _bneng_. Mynnar (Jirang) _phanliang_ seems to be very near
Khmer _phlieng_, and Palaung, and Xong _pleng_.

_Day_ (Sun)--Khmer, _thngay_; Mon, _tuyai_; Annam; _ngay_; Lemet, _ngay
pri_; Palaung, _sengei_; Khasi, _sngi_; Lakadong, _sngoi_; Kol _singi_.

_Year_.--Mon, _snam_; Annam, _nam_; Stieng, _so'nam_; Bahnar, _sandm_;
Khasi, _snem_.

_Lightning_:--Mon, _l'li_; Khasi, _leilih_.

_Stone, Rock_.--Mon, _tma_, _k'maw_; Stieng, _to'mau_; Bahn, _tmo,
temo_; Khmer, _thma_; Xong, _tmo_; Palaung, _mau_; Ba, _maou_; Khasi,
_maw_; Wa, _hsi-mo_, _hsi-mao_. Also compare Mynnar (Jirang) _smaw_.

_Water_.--Palaung, _em_; Khasi, _um_; Lakadong, _am_; Amwi, _am_;
Mynnar (Jirang), _um_; Rumai, _om_. Probably the Stieng _um_, to bathe,
can be connected with the Khasi word for water.

_Sea, pond_, or _tank_--Khmer, _ping_; Khasi, _pung_.

_Rice_.--Mon, _sro_, paddy, seems to be in connection with Khmer,
_srur_ (spoken _srau_ or _srou_). Xong _ruko_ is in Palaung _rekao,
sakao_, or _takao_. These words remind us of the Khasi _khaw_, which
seems to be borrowed from the Shan _khaw_ (_hkao hsau_).

_Dog_.--The common word for this animal will be found to be nearly the
same in sound in many of these languages, e.g. Suk. _cho_; Stieng,
_sou_; Bahnar, _ko, cho_; Annam, _cho_; Xong, _tcho_; Mi, _khmu_;
Lemet, _so_; Palaung, _tsao, hsao_; Khasi; _ksew_. The Mon _khluiw_ is
the same as the Khasi _ksew_, if _l_ is changed into _s_. The Lakadong
and Synteng dialects of Khasi have _ksaw_, and Mynnar (Jirang) _ksow_.

_Rat, mouse_.--Mon, _kni, gni_; Stieng, _ko'nei_; Bahnar, _kone_;
Khasi, _khnai_.

_Swine_.--Bahnar _niung_ is evidently Khasi _'niang_, the abbreviated
form of _sniang_.

_Tiger_.--Mon, _kla_; Stieng, _klah_; Bahnar, _kla_; Khmer, _khla_
and Khasi, _khla_ are evidently the same. With this compare the Kol
_kula, kula, kula_.

_Bird_.--Sue, _kiem_; Mon, _g'cem_, _ka-teim_; Hueei, _chiem_; Stieng,
_chum_; Bahnar, Annam, _chim_; Xong, _chiem_; Palaung and Wa, _hsim_,
and Khasi _sim_ are clearly the same. Also compare Mynnar (Jiraug),
_ksem_ which is very near to Mon, _g'cem_.

_Fowl_.--Hueei, _kat, yar_; Suk, _yer_; Bahnar, _ir_;. Stieng _ier_;
Khmu, _yer_; Lemet, _er_; Palaung, _her_, and Khasi, _siar_,
abbreviated into _'iar_, are probably the same.

_Fish_.--The word _ka_ or _kha_ runs through the following
languages:--Mon, Stieng, Bahnar, Annam, Khmu, Lemet, Palaung, Wa; and
if we cut off the first syllable of the Khasi word for fish, _dohkha_,
we find _'kha_, which is the same word as in the languages above
mentioned, with an aspirate added. The Khasi _doh_ merely means flesh,
and the word _dokkha_ is very frequently abbreviated, cf. _'kha saw,
'kha iong_.

_Crab_.--Mon, _kh'tam_; Khmer, _ktam_; Khasi, _tham_. If we add the
gender sign to the Khasi word, it becomes _ka tham_, and we have
exact correspondence.

_Woman_.--Mon, _brou_ or _brao_. Is this the same as the Khasi
(_ka_) _briw_?

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